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Companies in the Alleghany Highlands draw labor from the Virginia counties of Alleghany, Bath, Botetourt, Craig and Rockbridge; the Virginia cities of Covington and Lexington, and the West Virginia counties of Greenbrier and Monroe.

Layoffs and plant closings in the first decade of the century put skilled workers in the pool of available labor. A recent, independent workforce availability report (by The Pathfinders) estimated there are 8,700 underemployed workers who want to upgrade to a better job and possess the skills, education and experience to do so.

Current Unemployment

Labor Supply (10/13) 65,700
Unemployed (10/13) 3,848
Unemployment Rate (10/13) 5.8%
Underemployed 8,700
Annual High School Graduates 1,434
Annual College Graduates 2,680

Sources: Virginia Employment Commission and Workforce West Virginia


Dabney Entrance Sign 001

Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), a program of the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, provides customized recruiting and training services to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change.
VJIP offers

  • Consulting services
  • Organizational development
  • Electronic media
  • Funding

Eligibility for assistance in any of the VJIP program offerings is limited to for-profit companies that create basic employment (not engaged in retail) paying a minimum wage of $10.00 per hour. In areas that have unemployment of two times or more the state level, the wage minimum may be waived. Both Alleghany County and Covington City qualify. Only full-time jobs are eligible for funding.

Companies in the following business sectors will qualify:

  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution centers
  • Corporate headquarters for companies with multiple facilities
  • Inbound call centers
  • Information technology services exclusively to business
  • Research and development facilities

VJIP offers three programs:

New Jobs Program targets expansions of existing companies or new facility locations which involve competition with other states or countries. Expansions of existing companies or new company locations must create a minimum of 25 net new jobs within 12 months from the date of the first hire and make a capital investment of at least $1,000,000.

Small Business New Jobs Program supports existing Virginia companies which have 250 employees or less companywide. Companies must create a minimum of five net new jobs within a 12-month period and making at least $100,000 new capital investment.

Retraining Program provides services and funding to manufacturing companies and distribution centers to assist in upgrading the skills of existing employees identified as essential to the production or distribution of a product. Companies participating in the program are typically those which are undergoing an integration of new technology into their production processes, changing product lines in keeping with marketplace demands, or substantially changing service delivery processes, requiring an assimilation of new skills and technological capabilities. Companies must have a minimum of 10 fulltime employees needing to be retrained, and a new capital investment of at least $500,000 is required as the catalyst for the project.

For more information contact the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, (804) 371-8120 or .

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College – along with the whole Virginia Community College System – is VJIP’s training partner. The college offers credit and non-credit courses on its Clifton Forge campus as well as through distance learning.

Degree and certificate programs run the gamut from manufacturing to business to healthcare to forestry.

Workforce training also is available at Jackson River Technical Center, jointly operated by the Alleghany County and Covington City school systems. It offers courses primarily for 10th through 12th grade students and allows them to earn credit toward graduation and receive a vocational certificate.

Course subjects include marketing, business, work experience, health assistants, automotive technology, carpentry, computer systems technology, early childhood education, culinary arts and welding technology. Adult and evening classes also are offered.