Report | February 15, 2021

Building the Pipeline for Virginia’s Workforce of Tomorrow

Investing in pre-K to 12 education will help make young Virginians workforce-ready, crime-free, and military-eligible

Virginia’s long-term economic growth and public safety, as well as our national security, depend on the foundation that we lay for students in our state today. However, early care and education programs for Virginia infants and toddlers are scarce and expensive. The commonwealth has a public preschool program, but the program serves only a small proportion of four-year-olds and funding has decreased over time. Similarly, state support for public K-12 schools is still down from cuts made in the wake of the Great Recession and many schools are chronically underfunded. These shortcomings exist in a state where more than one-third of children have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE).

Recognizing 6 out of 10 state prison inmates don’t have a high school diploma, education and literacy skills must be developed in all youth.

Larry D. Boone, Norfolk Chief of Police

High-quality early childhood education builds a foundation for success in elementary school and beyond. Quality K-12 education focuses on the whole child, to support all aspects of child development (cognitive, social, emotional, physical). Well-educated youth are more likely to finish high school on time and be ready for college or any career they choose, including the military. There is also a link between inadequate education and crime, suggesting that students’ education is not only linked to the success of our state’s economy, but also to public safety.

The infant-toddler child care crisis costs the U.S. $57 billion annually in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue. Investing in our youngest learners is critical for Virginia’s workforce and economy.

Mike Petters, President & CEO, Huntington Ingalls Industries

By investing in education, we are improving our students’ readiness to succeed, helping them to avoid lives of crime, and enabling them to contribute meaningfully to our state and national economy, as well as to the defense of our nation, should they choose that path.

With 71% of American youth ineligible for military service, we must invest in education. Our national security depends on well-educated men and women in uniform.

Norman R. Seip, Lieutenant General (Ret.), U.S. Air Force

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  1. Early Learning
  2. K-12
  3. Preschool


  1. Virginia