Priorities Assessment

Workforce System Report Card

Virginia's Workforce System Report Card

Assessing Workforce Quality

Virginia Performs tracks the quality of Virginia's workforce at a national level, comparing it as a whole to other states on a number of high-level measures in education, productivity, salaries and wages, etc. By contrast, the Workforce System Report Card is designed to track a wealth of Virginia-specific efforts across multiple agencies to educate and train its workers and to create strategies for developing that workforce most advantageously.

The Commonwealth's workforce development system is multi-layered and involves many partners, including secondary and postsecondary institutions, private and public sector workforce groups, community organizations and human services providers, not to mention the large investments most firms make in internal worker training. Measuring the performance of such a complex system presents a significant challenge.

Virginia's Workforce System Report Card is a flexible tool for assessing that performance. Now in its fifth iteration, the card has evolved since its debut in 2012 to reflect new understandings of workforce issues and priorities, as well as valuable input from state leadership and the private sector.

With its goals for increasing postsecondary education and workforce credentials, aligning education with the needs of businesses, and diversifying the economy, Governor McAuliffe's New Virginia Economy Workforce Initiative (pdf), announced in August 2014, further underscores the Workforce System Report Card's overall intent.

Virginia's Workforce Report Card

View a hi-res print version of this Report Card: print PDF

Explore the data behind the report card.


Workforce System Report Card Goals

The report card outlines six broad goals for Virginia's workforce:

  • Produce 50,000 STEM-H workforce credentials with the skills employers need
  • Become the top state in the US by 2030 for workforce credential and degree attainment
  • Increase student readiness for postsecondary education and the workplace
  • Focus on and be responsive to the talent needs of Virginia's employers
  • Create pathways to employment for all Virginians
  • Reengineer Virginia's Workforce System to drive towards common outcome measures

How Is Virginia Doing?

Industry certifications awarded to Virginia high school students continued to rise significantly in 2016; since 2011, nearly 100,000 certifications have been awarded. In contrast, awards for other workforce credentials such as licenses, apprenticeships, and academic certificates continued to remain mostly flat. Like their general workforce counterpart, industry certifications in STEM-H are the largest contributor to progress in meeting the Governor's 50,000 STEM-H workforce credentials target.

The percentage of test takers getting an Advanced Pass on Algebra I and II Standards of Learning (SOL) tests continued to show improvement in 2016. However, SOL Reading and Writing advanced pass rates remained relatively flat. Advanced Placement (AP) and dual-enrollment are two pathways for high school students to earn college credit before graduation. The percentage of 9th-12th graders taking an AP exam has also started to flattern, while the percentage of high school students earning a "C" or better in dual-enrollment classes fell by about one percent.

In the Special Populations section, the unemployment rate of veterans in Virginia rose to 3.8 percent in 2016, from a low of 3.2 percent the year before. Additionally, after a major performance drop due to changes in the test, the percentage of Virginians earning a GED is starting to show signs of improvement.

Changes to the 2017 Report Card

Since September 2016, Virginia's workforce agencies have been reporting data to support agency level performance tied to the same measures presented here. Currently, internal monthly reports are being generated for the Governor, the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, members of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development, and workforce agency heads; once the data is stable, this will transition to a public reporting mechanism.

Trend data is not yet available for the credentials, jobs, wages, and business services metrics in the programs section of the report card.

In Development

  • A method for better tracking real-time supply and demand for jobs. One potential, if overly broad, method would be to track the gap between the number of job openings and the number of unemployed Virginians. With support from USA Funds, the Virginia Board of Workforce Development is building a tool that will hopefully allow for a more targeted, accurate approach to assessing job supply and demand in Virginia.
  • A new report card indicator, Demand-Focused Workforce Solutions, to capture regional progress in developing sustainable, collaborative approaches to workforce development for in-demand occupations in a key industry sector. You may get detailed information about this specific project on our page on Demand-Focused Workforce Solutions.
Page last modified June 19, 2017

Key Players in Virginia's Workforce Development


Virginia's Secretary of Commerce and Trade is spearheading implementation of the Governor's New Virginia Economy Workforce Initiative.

Virginia Career Pathways Workgroup: Virginia's Career Pathways system integrates and aligns education, workforce development, and economic development efforts at all levels of education and training statewide. This approach helps to identify market demands and build a workforce customized to the needs of regional labor markets. The Career Pathways Workgroup is the ongoing development and monitoring arm of the Pathways system and is comprised of members from the following state organizations:

  • Virginia Community College System
  • Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services
  • Virginia Department of Education
  • Virginia Department of Labor and Industry
  • Virginia Department of Social Services
  • Virginia Economic Development Partnership
  • Virginia Employment Commission
  • State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

Virginia Board of Workforce Development: A business-led board that acts as the principal advisor to the Governor and provides strategic leadership on policy, plans, and procedures to the entire state with regards to its workforce development system. The Board also implements the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in Virginia, setting policy and standards for local Workforce Investment Boards and One Stop Centers.