Preparing for Growth in Our County

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By Melissa Davies, Wise Ways Consulting

Happy New Year. Yes, it’s January, though our seasonal temperatures have been far above seasonal. Just wait, February is coming. But that’s followed by March, and then spring, and before you know it, summer vacation. It’s easy for us keep our heads down and let life pass us by. While this year is still bright and new, take a few moments to see what new opportunities are waiting for you.

In 2018, Amazon announced that Arlington would be the site of its HQ2 with the promise of 25,000 new jobs over the next 15 years. The last data I heard from the local news outlet WTOP was that there are currently 400 new employees and plans are on track. Additionally, other companies such as Microsoft are expanding too.

With Amazon’s arrival, the Commonwealth of Virginia has pledged more money to train new tech workers. Both Virginia Tech and George Mason University have plans to expand their local teaching campuses and programs. Have you been considering training, a new degree, a new career? Now may be the time to look into what is available.

If high tech is not where your heart lies, those 25,000 people will need massive support services in real estate, medical care, retail, restaurants, financial services, education. I think you can see where this is leading. And for better or for worse, the cost of housing will rise. This may squeeze lower income families; the State also has work to do to ensure that everyone benefits. However, for those of us already living and prospering in Prince William County, we can take advantage of our location, public transportation, and familiarity with working here. We can explore new job opportunities from the comfort of our community.

I realize that Amazon or any large company is not the only industry in our area. However, the past few decades have seen a shift away from once stable federal jobs. Fewer jobs are available, which translates to fewer opportunities in the consulting sector too. Will there be a reversal, a need to for an expanded government support system from future administrations in the next 15 years? Maybe, but are you willing to count on it?

Job diversity is just as important as community diversity. We’ve seen what happens to one-industry factory towns when the factory downsizes. The changing economic landscape in our area, even with its boomerang effect of increased traffic, etc., will increase our local community growth.

Whether you join in the stream is always up to you. But I do think you should look around, see what opportunities are waiting before the rest of the country moves in. Take the home field advantage.

 

Melissa Davies is an executive leadership coach and facilitator as well as the author of How Not to Act Like a BLEEP at Work. She resides in Prince William County and runs Wise Ways Consulting, which specializes in leadership, management and team development, executive coaching, group facilitation and high-engagement training. She can be reached at [email protected] or through wisewaysconsulting.com

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