Virginia State Profile

Virginia Department of Education
Richmond, VA

Office of the Governor
Richmond, VA

Roanoke County Public Schools
Roanoke, VA

Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium and Foundation
Wise, VA

Stafford County Public Schools
Stafford, VA

Suffolk Public Schools
Suffolk, VA

Virginia Works
Richmond, VA

Educational and Workforce Landscape

Secondary K–12

Governed by:

  • Virginia Department of Education

Public school enrollment K–12: 1,227,706 (2022–23) Source: (Virginia State Quality Profile)

Public school enrollment 9–12: 401,280 (2022–23) (Source: Virginia State Quality Profile)

Graduation rate: 91.9% (2022–23) (Source: Virginia State Quality Profile)

CTE Participation rate: 247,235 secondary CTE participants in 2021–22 (Perkins CAR data)

CTE graduation rate: 95.75% (Perkins CAR data)


Governed by:

  • Virginia State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV)
  • Virginia Community College System

Enrollment/Completion Data:

  • 65% of students enrolled in an institution of higher education in the 2019-2020 school year.
  • The cohort graduation rate from 4-year institutions in 2016 was 57% graduating within four years and 70% graduating within five years.

Number by Type of Schools

  • 2-year Community College: 24
  • 4-year Public University: 15
  • 4-year Private University: 26
  • 2-year Technical College: 300+

Source: SCHEV and Virginia Department of Education


Workforce Agency:

  • Department of Labor and Industry

Top Industries/Jobs:

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • Retail Trade
  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Manufacturing

(Source: 2022 Virginia Works Report)

Job Openings to Learner Ratio:

At the end of 2023, there were 275,000 job openings in Virginia, for a job openings rate of 6.2%.
(Source: Virginia Employment Commission)

Points of Interest

Virginia offers CTE Governor’s Health Sciences Academies and STEM Academies. Governor’s Health Sciences Academies are programs designed to expand options for students’ health science literacy and other critical knowledge, skills, and credentials that will prepare them for high-demand, high-wage, and high-skills careers in Virginia. Each academy is a partnership among school divisions, postsecondary institutions and business and industry. Each Governor’s Health Sciences Academy implements the five career pathways: Therapeutic Services, Diagnostic Services, Health Informatics, Support Services, and Biotechnology Research and Development.

Governor’s STEM Academies are programs designed to expand options for the general student population to acquire STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) literacy and other critical skills, knowledge and credentials that will prepare them for high-demand, high-wage, and high-skill careers in Virginia. Each academy is a partnership among school divisions, postsecondary institutions and businessand industry. All programs must include opportunities for internships, job shadowing, mentorships, projects, service learning or a combination.

The Virginia Plan for Higher Education, the statewide strategic plan, calls for the Commonwealth to be the (be the best-educated state by 2030). To do so, the percentage of working-age adults with a postsecondary credential needs to increase from 52% to 70% by 2030.

College & Career Pathways Successes


Secondary schools are required to provide work-based learning opportunities to students, and students can earn credit towards graduation for participating in work-based learning experiences. In 2020, the General Assembly and Governor signed HB 516 and SB 112 which outlined high school graduation requirements that: “Require that students (i) complete an Advanced Placement, honors, or International Baccalaureate, or dual enrollment course; (ii) complete a high-quality work-based learning experience, as defined by the Board; or (iii) earn a career and technical education credential that has been approved by the Board, except when a career and technical education credential in a particular subject area is not readily available or appropriate or does not adequately measure student competency, in which case the student shall receive satisfactory competency-based instruction in the subject area to earn credit. The career and technical education credential, when required, could include the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or the Virginia workplace readiness skills assessment.”

Virginia also selected work-based learning participation as a program quality indicator in its Perkins V plan, demonstrating the state’s commitment to prioritizing work-based learning for students.

In 2019, HB 2123 permits local school boards to enter into College and Career Access Pathways Partnerships with community colleges or other public higher education institutions. This bill requires partnerships to specify the options for students to take courses as part of their CTE curriculum that lead to course credit or an industry-recognized credential, and specify available options for students to earn dual credit for participation in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs at community colleges.

Steps the State (or Local Districts) has Taken

Governor Youngkin has committed significant state funds to expanding work-based learning in the state. In 2023, Governor Youngkin announced $4.5 million in new workforce grant opportunities, including for youth and students. The Transportation to Learn grant, for example, increases youth exposure to the benefits and opportunities of workforce development programs, such as registered apprenticeships and in-demand occupations. The Youth Outreach and Marking Development Grant aims to develop and implement outreach programs that engage and inspire high school students to pursue education, training, and careers in the skilled trades. Outreach strategies must educate parents, students and guidance counselors on the benefits of skilled trades.

In recent years, Governor Youngkin has also doubled down on investments in the Virginia College Partnership Laboratory Schools. A “College Partnership Laboratory School” (or Lab School) is a public, nonsectarian, nonreligious school in the state established by a higher education institution that stimulates innovative programs in preschool through grade 12 and develops model programs. This can include hands-on learning experiences, such as at the University of Mary Washington’s Academy of Technology and Innovation, which provides applied experiences in computer and data science. In 2022, the General Assembly awarded $100 million to support the lab school program.

Goals and Priorities for Launch

Priorities of the Virginia partnership through the Launch initiative include:

  • Identification of career pathways as evidenced by market demand;
  • Identification of the required supports to establish and sustain pathways;
  • Establishment of shared, consistent data and definitions among K–12, postsecondary, and workforce sectors;
  • Identification of state and regional obstacles to progress in establishing and maintaining pathways;
  • Educating citizens about the true opportunities of career and technical education and dispelling myths that impeded progress; and
  • Ensure efforts and resources, state and local, are expended strategically with shared goals among all sectors.

The Virginia partnership hopes to use the unique opportunity offered through launch to engage in meaningful collaboration to examine the specific barriers that the establishment of college and career pathways will work to dissolve. Launch will provide insight for the partnership to evaluate how they can thoughtfully and deliberately adjust conditions regionally to improve outcomes for all.

Local District Profiles

Stafford County Public Schools

Urbanacity (enrollment, geography, demographics):

  • 31,105 students (21.5% Black, 24.2% Hispanic or Latino, 5% Asian)
  • 34 schools
  • Suburban, large
Source: NCES

Our school division looks forward to joining the Launch initiative. We are excited about the opportunity to connect K–12 schools, postsecondary institutions, and employers. We are committed to learning and collaborating as a network, aiming to address barriers to equitable access, assess the quality and alignment of current programs, create a plan for scaling high-quality programs in an equitable and sustainable manner, and provide recommendations to shape the future of college and career pathways.

Dr. Thomas Taylor, Superintendent of Schools, Stafford County Public Schools

Suffolk City Public Schools

Urbanacity (enrollment, geography, demographics):

  • 14,490 students (7.9% Black, 7.5% Hispanic or Latino, 49% white)
  • 22 schools
  • Suburban, large

Source: NCES

Defining characteristics/points of interest:

This district located in the southeastern region of Virginia offers CTE programming that includes the College and Career Academy at Pruden, adult education, and credential opportunities.



Roanoke County Public Schools

Urbanacity (enrollment, geography, demographics):

  • 13,811 students (7.9% Black, 7.5% Hispanic or Latino, 85% white)
  • 29 schools
  • Suburban, mid-size

Defining characteristics/points of interest:

This district located in the southwestern region of Virginia partners with local health care organizations and businesses to administer programs to students at a dedicated CTE center.



Reference Links and More Information

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