Goal: Expand and enhance Virginia’s high-quality and highly skilled workforce.
Talent pipeline indicators assess the current and future supply of highly skilled workers in the state’s economy. To remain competitive, Virginia must develop and retain its highly educated workforce while attracting additional highly educated workers from outside the Commonwealth. The talent pipeline indicators show trends at various ages and levels of education, beginning with programs for students starting at just six years old and continuing through advanced degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
In 2012, the number of college educated residents of Virginia aged 25 and above leaving the state exceeded the number of college educated individuals moving into the state; this was the first time in the past five years that domestic out-migration of the college educated population has exceeded domestic in-migration. The number of degrees conferred in STEM has steadily increased at both the community college level and the four-year and above level between 2008 and 2012. Entrepreneurship degrees are too new to show a trend, but an increasing number of colleges and universities are exploring them as a complement to entrepreneurship programs and clubs. Virginia benefits from a high concentration of high-tech employment, but the state’s location quotient for high-tech industries declined modestly in 2012. Participation in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) programs, which are designed to introduce six to 18 year olds to science and technology learning, continued to climb in 2012.
Why is the talent pipeline important?
An educated workforce drives economic growth. Because creating an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation is a priority for Virginia, the state must train, retain, and attract highly skilled talent, as measured in the net migration rate of highly educated workers. At the postsecondary level, increasing the number of STEM degrees conferred is crucial to meeting current and future demand for STEM skills in innovative occupations. Institutions of higher education are placing more emphasis on entrepreneurship training, which will help future innovators and entrepreneurs develop the prerequisite skills and knowledge required to launch a startup and introduce new products and services. FIRST participation serves as a proxy for interest in and support for STEM learning beginning at an earlier age. The location quotient (LQ) measures the relative size of high-tech employment in Virginia compared to the nation, and the state’s above-average specialization in high-tech employment signals a competitive advantage and positions it well for economic growth.
How has Virginia performed over the last five years?
Knowledge Worker Migration
Virginia has been largely successful in both attracting and retaining educated workers. In 2008, 70,009 college educated adults (aged 25 and above) moved from other states into Virginia, while 66,388 college educated residents left the Commonwealth. This trend of higher in-migration continued another three years: 71,804 moved in during 2009, while 64,352 moved out; the following year, 65,216 moved in, while 64,818 left Virginia; and in 2011, 76,922 moved in while 66,294 moved out. In 2012, for the first time in the five-year period, the number of college educated individuals leaving the state exceeded the number moving into Virginia from another state, with 74,165 moving in compared with 76,042 moving to another state.
Innovative businesses need workers with STEM degrees, and demand is growing rapidly. The number of STEM degrees conferred at community colleges and four-year or above STEM degrees conferred has steadily increased since 2008. In 2008, 1,694 two-year STEM degrees were awarded at community colleges and 12,622 bachelor’s or higher STEM degrees were awarded. These numbers have continued to climb each year at community colleges and four-year or higher institution, respectively: 1,764 and 13,296 in 2009; 2,028 and 14,097 in 2010; 3,195 and 14,995 in 2011; and 3,893 and 16,246 in 2012.
Institutions of higher education in Virginia help foster entrepreneurship through programs, clubs, and degrees. While business schools have traditionally offered entrepreneurial clubs and courses, full entrepreneurial degree programs are relatively new. These degree programs appeal to students who ultimately want to start and run their own companies. In Virginia, Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degrees with a concentration in entrepreneurship are offered at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, George Mason University’s School of Management, and Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition, several other universities offer Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Centers for Entrepreneurship are also prevalent at Virginia universities, including the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center at William & Mary’s Mason School of Business and Regent University’s Center for Entrepreneurship. Trends in the number of degrees conferred through these programs will be examined in updates to the IEMS as data become available.
The location quotient measures the degree to which an industry is concentrated or specialized in a region relative to the nation, by computing the ratio of the share of an industry’s employment in a region to the same industry’s share of employment in the nation. High-tech employment is significantly more concentrated in Virginia than in the United States; the high location quotient for the high-tech sector in Virginia demonstrates how important high-tech jobs are to the state’s economy. In 2008, the high-tech location quotient in Virginia was 1.55 (i.e., 55% above the national average). It climbed to 1.59 in 2009 and 1.60 in 2010. In 2011, the high-tech location quotient in Virginia slipped to 1.58. It eased further to 1.56 in 2012.
Exposing children to science, technology, and engineering learning has many benefits. FIRST is an organization which creates programs to motivate students aged six to 18 to pursue STEM education and career opportunities. There are four FIRST programs operating in Virginia: Junior FIRST Lego League (Grades K-3), FIRST Lego League (Grades 4-8), FIRST Tech Challenge (Grades 7-12), and FIRST Robotics Competition (Grades 9-12). FIRST participation in Virginia has steadily risen over the past five years. In 2008, an estimated 4,786 students participated in FIRST programs in Virginia. In 2009, the number of students taking part in FIRST programs in Virginia increased to 5,207. Participation jumped in 2010, 2011, and 2012 with 6,444, 7,521, and 8,806 students, respectively, taking part in FIRST programs. From 2008 to 2012, FIRST participation surged 84% in the state; Junior FIRST Lego League participation increased 174% from 2008 to 2012 (from 450 to 1,230), suggesting FIRST participation will continue to experience strong growth in the coming years.
What are the implications?
The talent pipeline is a key indicator of the state’s current and future capability to provide highly educated workers for innovative industries. Virginia continues to increase the number of STEM degrees awarded, suggesting that the state is successfully increasing the supply of workers for current and expected in-demand occupations. At the K-12 level, FIRST participation, which has jumped over the past five years, serves as a proxy for early interest in STEM learning that may translate into college degrees. In four of the past five years, domestic in-migration of college educated adults has exceeded domestic out-migration, suggesting the state has been relatively successful in attracting and retaining talent. While the location quotient for high-tech industries eased in 2012, Virginia continues to have a very high concentration of high-tech jobs. Overall, Virginia shows a successful ability to cultivate interest from an early age and to train and attract the talented workers required for innovation and entrepreneurship-driven growth.
Data Sources and Definitions:
Each IEMS indicator reflects the latest available data and includes a discussion of trends in up to five years of historical data, depending on availability.
Net Migration of Knowledge Workers: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, Tables B07009 and B07409. Total domestic in-migration represents the number of college educated individuals aged 25 and above that moved into Virginia from other states in a given year. Domestic out-migration represents all college educated individuals aged 25 and above that moved to a different state in a given year.
Degrees Conferred in STEM: Data are from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) www.nces.ed.gov/ipeds/. STEM degrees are defined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm. Degrees from community colleges are calculated from public two-year degrees.
High-Tech Employment: Location quotient data are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). The location quotient measures the degree to which an industry is concentrated or specialized in a region relative to the nation, by computing the ratio of the share of an industry’s employment in a region to the same industry’s share of employment in the nation (United States = 1.0).
FIRST Participation: FIRST participation is estimated by multiplying the number of FIRST teams by the average number of students per team. Participation data were provided by VirginiaFIRST and Virginia FIRST Lego League.
CIT acknowledges the important contribution of Chmura Economics & Analytics in preparing the IEMS.