GOVA Region 3 launches healthcare workforce development initiative 

GOVA Region 3 launches healthcare workforce development initiative 

Strategic alliance seeks to grow the health sciences workforce


April 1, 2024 – The GO Virginia Region 3 Council has recently established the Southern Virginia Partnership for Health Science Careers (SOVA Partnership) in partnership with the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation. This initiative is designed to cultivate a robust, skill-ready workforce across Southern Virginia for healthcare employers in partnership with educational providers and allied stakeholders. 

“Southern Virginia faces a critical healthcare workforce challenge,” said GOVA Region 3 Executive Director Bryan David. “The difficulty in growing and retaining credentialed health science professionals presents a significant barrier to our economic growth. At GOVA Region 3, we’ve brought together leaders from Southern Virginia’s healthcare systems, leaders from all levels of education, and allied healthcare stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategy based on data and proven workforce development strategies. This undertaking represents our initial step towards supporting the delivery of healthcare in the region which is a critical element for sustainable economic expansion.”

To begin work on the Talent Pathway Plan for Health Science Careers, GOVA Region 3 has enlisted the support and technical expertise of the Blue Ride Partnership for Health Science Careers. The SOVA Partnership will be modeled after this successful workforce development program in GO Virginia Region 2.

We are pleased to support Region 3 in establishing the SOVA partnership. This proven organizational model provides a forum in which employers, educators, workforce and economic development professionals, and funders come together in trans-disciplinary committees to openly and creatively address the complexities in the education, training and job placement of the healthcare sector,” said Cynthia Lawrence, president of the Blue Ridge Partnership for Health Science Careers and director of workforce development at Carilion Clinic. “Increasing the number of well-qualified health professionals in Region 3 not only improves access to and quality of healthcare for families but also accomplishes two additional goals: this effort will increase the number of individuals for jobs that are stable, well-paying and critically needed by employers and, as importantly, ensures a health-ready workforce and strong health care system that will attract investment in the region from other industries. By translating the Blue Ridge model, Region 3 will be able to sustain its efforts over time. The model can also be applied to workforce development efforts in other industries by inviting the appropriate industry sector professionals to participate.”

The SOVA Partnership held a project kickoff meeting in January. This gathering brought together representatives from over two dozen key Southern Virginia organizations, spanning healthcare institutions, economic development organizations, higher education institutions, workforce training programs, K-12 schools and other regional stakeholders. This diverse coalition underscores the GOVA Region 3’s comprehensive approach to addressing healthcare workforce development.

The project team will also work with SOVA Partnership to complete a gap analysis, pinpointing the discrepancies between existing job opportunities and the skills required to fill them. The team’s efforts will include: 

  • Developing an asset map of institutions, programs and partnerships in order to evaluate the region’s capacity to support health science workforce needs. 
  • Collaborating with the Institute of Advanced Learning Research to create a strategy to expand health science careers in partnership with the GO TEC/EmPower program in the region’s K-12 school systems.
  • Developing targeted strategies, compiling a list of high-impact projects and identifying potential funding sources to support these initiatives.

Members of the project team include representatives from:

  • The Blue Ridge Partnership for Health Science Careers 
  • The Center for Health Workforce at George Mason University
  • The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation
  • GOVA Region 3 staff 

This healthcare initiative is among the latest in a series of collaborative efforts led by GOVA Region 3, all seeking to generate economic growth and high-paying job opportunities across Southern Virginia. To learn more, visit For media inquiries or to schedule an interview with GOVA personnel about our progress and the impact of our work on the community, please reach out to Program Director Bryan David at 540.395.6504 | [email protected].

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