Date: March 8, 2016
New River Valley, VA – In its first annual Employment Destinations Index, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) ranked the most attractive places in the U.S. where young college graduates want to live and work. The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area, encompassing the entire New River Valley, ranked No. 20 in the nation among metro areas with populations less than 250,000.
The 2015 Employment Destinations Index is based on eight economic and quality-of-life factors that AIER found to influence migration patterns of college grads ages 22-35 among 260 metro areas, large and small. A few of the factors contributing to the New River Valley’s high ranking included its favorable labor market conditions, affordable housing rents, ability to get around without a car, and density of people with a college degree.
“With the Employment Destinations Index, we identify what captures young people’s imagination and entices them to test the waters in cities large and small,” said Rosalind Greenstein, director of research and education at AIER. “After making the economic decision to move, the young and educated are looking for places where they can have a meaningful work/life balance.”
Virginia’s New River Valley has a desirable blend of economic opportunity and lifestyle amenities. The diverse mix of businesses, ranging from small startups to large international corporations, provide meaningful career opportunities. Unlike larger metro areas, its small town atmosphere cultivates social interaction and community engagement. The region’s mountain setting is also ideal for enjoying the outdoors, with superb greenways, nature trails and waterways.
AIER also found that many of the destinations ranking at the top of the smallest metro group “benefited from the presence of a university that anchors economic activity, attracts companies relying on high-skill workers, inspires researchers and entrepreneurs to leverage networks, and supports a lively social scene.”
Virginia’s New River Valley is no exception to this finding. The region benefits from not one, but two universities – Virginia Tech and Radford University – and an exceptional community college – New River Community College. These higher education institutions contribute to the cultural and social offerings of the region and provide a steady pipeline of talent for area companies to draw from. Virginia Tech, a top 40 research university, is also a major catalyst for the region’s technology sector and has produced numerous spinout companies through alumni, faculty and researchers.
Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s 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.