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VCEDA wins award for luring tech jobs to region

Staff Report • Jun 5, 2009 at 12:00 AM

LEBANON — The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) was honored recently by the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council (SWVTC) for the organization’s strategy to attract and develop technology jobs in the region.

VCEDA, a unique economic development organization created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988, received the award for technological innovation in economic development during the SWVTC’s annual awards banquet held May 28 at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director, said VCEDA began a strategy to attract information technology and value-added energy jobs to the region as early as the 1990s.

In recent years, he said the organization has focused on marketing the region to potential high-tech job-creating businesses as “Virginia’s e-Region,” emphasizing the area’s strong focus and competitive advantages in electronic information technology, energy, education and emerging technologies.

“It is exciting for VCEDA and our team of allies throughout Southwest Virginia to be honored for our role in bringing technology and jobs to the region,” said Belcher.

VCEDA was heavily involved in the recruitment of technology projects such as Northrop Grumman and CGI to the region. The organization has provided millions of dollars for work force training to support information technology and for the deployment of last-mile fiber-optic broadband in the region.

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