Amazon HQ2 in Virginia: Creating "Pre-K to Gray" Talent Pipelines

In 2019 Virginia made a historic, statewide $1B investment to more than double Virginia’s tech-talent pipeline, which will benefit students and employers across the Commonwealth.  Virginia’s outsized commitment to back a full-scale talent development strategy to grow tech talent across the Commonwealth sealed the deal to attract Amazon's second headquarters. The Tech Talent Investment Program (TTIP), a performance-based incentive program for universities to produce more tech talent, was the centerpiece of Virginia’s winning proposal for Amazon HQ2. It was designed to create at least 25,000 new bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and related fields. The bid for Amazon HQ2 and the TTIP required remarkable collaboration between Commonwealth officials, legislators, universities and Amazon and can serve as a model for a talent-centered model of economic development that invests in talent development beginning in childhood.

This panel brings top leaders from the Virginia Governor’s office and Virginia’s economic development organization and Amazon to share a case study of how a state-wide strategy of investment in talent development from public school through graduate education and reskilling, linked to the needs of businesses, brought Amazon to Virginia. We will discuss the importance of partnerships between employers, government, K-12 and higher education for economic growth, and the associated opportunities and challenges.

Moderator: Michelle Marks

Panelists: Ardine Williams, Fran Bradford, Megan Healy, Stephen Moret