The GO Virginia Region One Council, in their first meeting of 2018, approved recommendations of two regional proposals totaling $550,000.

Ignite Internships, a program of United Way of Southwest Virginia focuses on providing internships to high school students across seventeen school systems and aligns school curriculums with employer needs. The two-year project includes a capacity-building platform that provides activities to encourage post-secondary education, streamlines work credentialing, provides work-based learning opportunities, and matches new graduates with local employers through a web-based platform.

Tech Spec, a flexible use facility proposed by Washington County and the City of Bristol will address the shortage of operationally flexible buildings in size ranges often desired by emerging technology-driven firms. A State of Franklin Technology Collaborative comprised of representatives from higher education, economic development and local government will provide guidance to Tech Spec’s operations and marketing. Washington County and the City of Bristol plan to expand the partnership to include other jurisdictions across the region.

“We were pleased with the quality of the project proposals and applications submitted for funding,” said Mike Quillen, Chair of the Region One Council. “It was clear the applicants put a great deal of thought into how they addressed the goals of the region’s Growth and Diversification Plan.”

GO Virginia, the business-led initiative to create more higher-paying jobs in Virginia through regional collaboration, covers the 13 counties in the three planning districts that represent Southwest Virginia. The Region One Council is mostly made up of private sector business leaders and some members of the public sector and higher education. The University of Virginia’s College at Wise will serves as the support organization for the Region One Council.

The Ignite Internships and Tech Spec proposals will be submitted to the GO Virginia State Board for further due diligence and evaluation. In addition to promoting collaboration across Southwest Virginia, The GO Virginia Regional Council provides funding assistance through Per Capita Grants for initiatives, which align with the Growth and Diversification Plan, released in September 2017. A “How to Apply Workshop” is scheduled for March 15, 2018 at 10 a.m. at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. For more information, contact Shannon Blevins at

More About GO Virginia

The Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity in Each Region (Go Virginia) was initiated by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC) and the Council on Virginia’s Future to foster private-sector growth and job creation through state incentives for regional collaboration by business, education, and government. Recognizing the harsh effect of deep federal budget cuts on a Virginia economy that is overly dependent on public-sector jobs, business leaders formed the GO Virginia campaign to work for regional cooperation on private-sector growth, job creation, and career readiness.

For more information on GO Virginia, visit