RICHMOND – The Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC) and Growth4VA, a campaign to promote reform and reinvestment in Virginia’s nationally acclaimed higher education system, is pleased to announce that Gubernatorial candidates Ed Gillespie and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam today endorsed Growth4VA at the 2017 Virginia Summit on Higher Education and Economic Competitiveness. The Summit brought together Virginia business and higher education leaders and stakeholders, members of the General Assembly, and major-party gubernatorial candidates, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie, to discuss the impact of higher education on economic competitiveness in Virginia.

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, along with partners the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council and UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, hosted the third and final debate in Virginia’s gubernatorial race on Oct. 9. Both candidates spoke about the importance of education during the hour debate. Click the link below for a brief overview of the debate.

Gil Minor, Chairman of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council, said, “Creating jobs and opportunity through higher education is not a Republican or Democratic issue, it is a Virginia issue and we are pleased to receive both Ed Gillespie’s and Lt. Gov. Northam’s endorsements of Growth4VA today. The endorsements by both major-party candidates demonstrate the importance of higher education’s role in the success of Virginia’s economy. The Virginia Business Higher Education Council and Growth4VA are pleased that our next Governor understands the significance of Virginia’s universities, colleges, and community colleges and the tremendous economic impact they have on our commonwealth. Growth4VA will remain focused on working with our elected officials and business leaders to put forth commonsense solutions to grow the Virginia economy, expand access to education and job opportunities for all Virginians, and regain Virginia’s #1 ranking for business.”

 Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, Candidate for Governor, said, “We have so much to be proud of in Virginia with our colleges and universities. They are best in the world and that certainly contributes to our economy and workforce development. We are in the midst of a technology revolution here in the Commonwealth, and the way we need to move forward is through innovation and having the best talent in the world.  The Growth4VA initiative will help us reach these critical goals.”

Ed Gillespie, Candidate for Governor, said, “My higher education agenda is focused on increasing opportunity for all Virginians. My policies are centered around talent and innovation that will help get the Virginia economy growing again. In fact, much of what I’ve put forward is reinforced by Growth4VA, as well as the Virginia Chamber’s workforce initiatives and the State Council of Higher Education’s strategic plan. I look forward to working together to emphasizes our shared vision for much broader-based collaboration and partnership between business and our colleges and community colleges.”

About Growth4VA: Growth4VA is a campaign of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council, an organization founded by Virginia business leaders on the principle that the prosperity of Virginia and the well-being of its citizens is fundamentally tied to access to a strong system of public colleges and universities.  Growth4VA is a broad-based, bipartisan coalition of Virginians who support reform and reinvestment in our higher education system to help grow the Virginia economy, expand access to education and job opportunities for all Virginians, and regain Virginia’s #1 ranking for business. To learn more about the Growth4VA campaign, including the current economic impact of Virginia’s higher education system and the Growth4VA coalition’s plans for expanding economic growth and opportunity in Virginia, visit the campaign website at