Virginia's Workforce: Ready or Not

Virginia's Workforce: Ready or Not

By Gary McCollum, Founding Chairman of E3: Elevate Early Education.

Did you know? By age 5, 90% of a child’s brain is developed. Yet, when the investment counts most, Virginia’s public investment is lowest.  For every $1 we invest in school-age children, only 23 cents is spent on preschool-aged children, birth to age 5.  Currently, Virginia’s investment is far less than other states including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina.

Virginia can do better.  That’s why this fall, together with a group of business, civic, and philanthropic leaders, we created E3: Elevate Early Education to aggressively pursue and challenge our policy makers to make early education a priority.  Our team is made up of statewide influencers that have set out to change the way the Commonwealth of Virginia thinks, acts, and prioritizes our early education, K-12, and higher education systems.

Like you, my business draws from a local workforce around the state and we are constantly looking at ways to ensure that we have the employees we need both today and in the future.  Almost half of US employers report a gap in their needs and the skills of their workforce. This mismatch of available jobs to applicant skills is only going to worsen if we don’t address our educational deficit.  The failing workforce pipeline can be repaired, but we must start early and we must start now. Early education is the starting point for the pipeline that fuels our K-12 and higher education systems, which drives economic growth in our state. 

As I see it, Virginia businesses have three options: we can import the talent, export the job or grow the talent here in Virginia.  I’d like to personally ask you to become a part of the E3 movement as a strong advocate for early education. 

Take action today:

¨  Join the E3 movement at

¨  Use your influence and visibility to make early education a state and local priority.

¨  Publicly position your company to advocate for early education.

¨  Invite E3 board members to come and speak to your civic or business group.




 Gary McCollum is the Senior VP & General Manager of Cox Communications andFounding Chairman of E3: Elevate Early Education.  He can be reached at 804-441-8336 or  To learn more about E3, visit, or contact Lisa Howard, President & CEO of E3, at

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