VCU poll finds Virginian support in taxes to fund workforce training and development

A 2017 Virginia Commonwealth University Public Policy Poll found strong support for continued funding of workforce training and development in Virginia. The study by the Center for Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs found 58 percent of the respondents said they were willing to pay more in taxes to keep programs for workforce training and development at current state levels.

According to VCU News Interim dean of the Wilder School Ph.D John Accordino said that this issue is important nationally as well as statewide.

“As policymakers wrestle with these issues, it’s critical that citizens’ views be taken into account,” Accordino said.

Commerce and Labor Committee Republicans outweigh Democrats 15-6 which may affect legislation outcome in this year’s General Assembly session. Chair of the Commerce and Labor Committee Del. Terry Kilgore R –Counties of Lee, Scott, and Wise (part); City of Norton said he will not support raising taxes for this issue.

“He is very much opposed to higher taxes to further workforce training and feels like the state can use existing dollars for workforce training and development,” Kilgore legislative aid Christy Eige said.

The poll, obtained from telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1,000 adults living in Virginia showed more support from Democrats in addition to support for the expansion of workforce training and education tied to state economic development funds. Respondents from Northern Virginia and Tidewater showed the strongest support for these incentives.

However, despite support for workforce training and development 57 percent of the respondents were not familiar with job and career opportunities in their community. More than 80 percent of those have less than a high school diploma.

Just over 70 percent surveyed were not familiar with the Virginia’s One-Stop Career Centers, that provide resources to improve professional employment skills. The poll found this lack of awareness may result of from lack of transportation and housing, less than half saying they had appropriate access.

The poll also addressed the ability to attract new business to the state 47 percent responding Virginia does a “good” or “excellent” job. Of them, most had more formal education and lived in  Northern and South Central Virginia as well as having a family income of $59,000 a year or higher.


SaraRose Martin, Staff Writer

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