Rural Jobs Council working on wide range of initiatives, Crowther says

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on May 01, 2013 - 02:36 PM

Members of Virginia’s Rural Jobs Council have been hard at work over recent months attempting to grow opportunities for employment across the Commonwealth.

The VRJC, appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell, is halfway through its service, and one of its members, Rappahannock Community College president Elizabeth Crowther, said much progress has been made.

Crowther, who chairs the VRJC subcommittee on infrastructure, said the group, as a whole, has been covering initiatives ranging from broadband internet service to highways and education.

Her group, she said, has been meeting in between gatherings of the larger group to flesh out specific recommendations to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and McDonnell on ways to make improvements in the areas of public policy and best practices.

Crowther said her subcommittee has also been looking for ways to encourage private investment in public infrastructure projects.

For example, she said there has been a big push in the western part of the state for broadband funded by federal and state money. "We’re not getting our portion on the eastern part of the state," Crowther said. "Rather than wait, wait, wait, there are many examples of private businesses going in to help get a piece of that here."

Each subcommittee, she said, has been bringing in various experts that fully understand what challenges Virginia faces and ways to amend pieces of legislation to accelerate how certain aspects of business are done that could have a positive impact on job creation.