COO of Qualtrax, and IT Company in Blacksburg, VA, in Virginia's New River Valley.

NRV 3rd Among Metros with High Ratio of IT Graduates to Jobs

NEW RIVER VALLEY, VA- The Blacksburg metro, known locally as the New River Valley, recently ranked 3rd out of 25 among metros with high ratio of IT graduates to IT jobs. This ranking was published in the July/August edition of Expansion Solutions Magazine based on information in 2015 when the New River Valley had 1,000 IT graduates, putting the ratio of graduates to jobs at 1:1.


The New River Valley is home to three higher education institutions that offer a range of degrees in IT, including:

  • Virginia Tech: Department of Computer Science, Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Business Information Technology Department
  • Radford University Artis Information Technology Department
  • New River Community College Information Technology Department

The New RIver Valley has a growing IT industry. According to data from The Bureau of Labor and Statistics, from 2011-2016 the New River Valley as a whole has nearly 2,000 IT employees, marking a significant increase of 35% since 2011, which is well above both the state (3%) and national (12%) averages.


Bike with Rackspace logo for employees to ride around the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center

This puts IT companies in a place to thrive in Virginia’s New River Valley. Currently with 154 IT establishments, the NRV is becoming an IT hub that benefits from a lower cost of living and better quality of life for employees. Onward NRV, the region’s economic development organization has identified IT as a target industry for the New River Valley and is collaborating with leaders from business, government, and higher education to support and grow the sector in the region.


Overall, the IT industry offers a range of occupations and high average earnings. The presence of multiple higher education institutions, which offer programs and graduates in various technology related subjects provides a regional advantage. Based on recent job growth, industry presence, and related criteria, the IT sectors of focus for the region are Software Development, Cyber Security, IT Support Services, and Digital Creative Firms.


Female 1901 Group employee at computer with a mountainous backdrop.

Some current IT companies and major employers in the New River Valley include Qualtrax, Rackspace, FoxGuard Solutions, Citizens Cooperative, and Modea.


For more information about IT in the NRV visit the Targeted Industry Page on our website. For any additional questions, feel free to contact Onward NRV.


###


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.

NRV ranked a top job destination for college graduates

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.