ACCE program; Muddy ACCE race; NRV; new river valley; giles county; NRCC

Giles County Uses ACCE Program as Part of Economic Development Strategy

Giles County, VA – The Access to Community College Education (ACCE) Program and entrepreneurial ideas from within the community are some of the core components of Giles County’s economic development strategy.

Giles County has been organically exploring ways to grow their economy. Due to the geography and topography, industrial development space is limited which means so is the opportunity to bring in new industries. The county has been focusing on the assets it does have and sees an opportunity to improve the outdoor recreation gear manufacturers and attractions. The existing outfitters have limited capacity to host larger groups, so the county is exploring ways to recruit more outfitters and a homegrown provider for equipment. Currently, their goal is to grow internally by supporting entrepreneurship within the community. The perfect example is the new resort along the river came from a connection the owner of the county’s primary outdoors outfitter had with a friend looking for a place to build. “We supported them and that turned into an almost $3 million investment in the county,” said Cora Gnegy, Giles County Tourism Marketing Director.

Regardless of the type of industry that is successful in Giles County, they will need qualified talent. Over the past seven years, the ACCE program has received nearly $900,000 from the Muddy ACCE Race. The program covers two years of tuition at New River Community College (NRCC) and has had more than 3,000 students, a third of Giles County high school graduates during that time, participate in the program.

“We’re seeing 26 percent of kids going on to post-secondary education who weren’t before. Even more students are aware that there’s more out there for them if they want to take advantage of it.” – Cora Gnegy, Giles County Tourism Marketing Director

By exposing Giles County students to more opportunities, the county may be able to anticipate what its best course forward is, again, by relying on those who know it best.


Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

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