3 reports that could change the way you think about Virginia Western and our healthcare economy

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As I’ve noted before, I do A LOT of reading in the grants office.

Today, I wanted to call attention to a few enlightening reports that I spelunked while working on our latest grant proposal, a three-year plan for the Claude Moore Health Professions Academy, which has launched in Roanoke city and Roanoke County high schools this fall. The objective is to build nursing and EMS pathways stretching from the high schools through Virginia Western’s programs and beyond.

Understanding our region’s healthcare needs is critical — both for our economy and Virginia Western’s role in that economy. Here are three resources that are rattling around in my brain:


You probably know that Carilion Clinic is the largest employer in the Roanoke Valley.

But did you know the healthcare sector leads all other sectors with the most job growth in the next five years?: 11% by 2021. That 11% growth number comes from the 2017 Virginia’s Blue Ridge Works Local Workforce Plan, which is still in draft stage. The same report notes a 10% growth rate for jobs in the emerging Life Sciences sector (biosciences, biopharmaceutical, bio-related manufacturing), which was touted in a recent GO Virginia report (more on that in the future).

By the way, this workforce region includes the counties of Roanoke, Franklin, Craig, Botetourt and Alleghany, plus the cities of Roanoke and Salem.

Below are some key tables from this draft report, including wage data:

Existing and Emerging Target Industry Sectors

Industry ClusterTotal Jobs (2016)Projected Jobs Change (2016-2021)Projected Job Growth (2016-2021)Location Quotient (2016)Competitive Effect (2016-2021)
Existing Target Industries
Transportation and Warehousing7,2612964%1.23(174)
Financial Services7177200%0.47(13)
Emerging Target Industries
Food and Beverage Manuf.1,214373%2.0735
Life Sciences17,9681,87510%1.17187

In-Demand Healthcare Occupations, by Average Annual Job Openings

In-demand Healthcare Occupations (4-digit SOC codes)Total Jobs (2016)Projected Job Growth (2016-2022)Avg Annual Job Openings (2016-2022)Avg Hourly Earnings
Registered Nurses
Credentials: Associate’s Degree, RN License
Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides
Credentials: OJT, 120-hour Certificate, CNA Accreditation
Personal Care Aides
Credentials: Short-term OJT
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
Credentials: 1-2 year Certificate, NCLEX-PN Accreditation
Physicians and Surgeons
Credentials: Medical School, Specialization, MD
Credentials: Master’s Degree, Apprenticeship
Social Workers
Credentials: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s for Healthcare
Credentials: Bachelor’s Degree +, Apprenticeship
Health Practitioner Support Technologists and Technicians
Credentials: Certified Pharmacy Technician with OJT, 1-2 Certificates or Associate’s Degrees
Clinical Lab Technologists and Technicians
Credentials: Associate’s Degree with ASCP Medical Lab Technician Certificate, BA for technologists
Medical Assistants
Credentials: Some Postsecondary Education, OJT


I found another excellent resource from the Democracy Collaborative, a research group I was introduced to at last year’s City Works (X)po in Roanoke. (And if you’ve ever been curious about this annual placemaking conference, I highly recommend you GO. I’ll write more about it in a future post). The Democracy Collaborative is all about community wealth building (keeping our dollars *local*), and its Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities project offers toolkits to help health systems build community wealth through inclusive hiring, purchasing and investment. I share this project with anyone who will listen, especially if they are helping to shape healthcare in the Roanoke Valley. After reading the innovative case studies in the Workforce toolkit (chock full of grant ideas and collaborative strategies), I learned about another resource that I quickly Googled …


The Roanoke Valley Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), which Carilion conducts every three years as a requirement of the Affordable Care Act. The result of the health needs assessment is a shorter Health Improvement Implementation Strategy. In this strategic report, Carilion Clinic listed the top priorities for the Roanoke Valley for 2016-18:

  1. Poor eating habits/ lack of nutrient dense foods in diet
  2. Access to mental health counseling/substance abuse
  3. Access to adult dental care
  4. Access to dental care for children
  5. Lack of exercise/physical activity

In the same report, Carilion also prioritized improving the community health needs of *Southeast Roanoke.* Find the reports here.

Understanding our community’s health — and Carilion’s strategic priorities — are so important as Virginia Western continues to serve the educational and workforce needs of our region.

What else should we be reading? Email Stephanie Ogilvie Seagle at sseagle@virginiawestern.edu.

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About Stephanie

Stephanie SeagleStephanie Ogilvie Seagle has served as Grant Specialist at Virginia Western since 2016, but she prefers her honorary title: “Chief Joy Officer.” Stephanie spent most of her career at The Roanoke Times, a daily newspaper, where she served in various news and features roles including “Shoptimist” shopping columnist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies at George Mason University and a master’s of arts in liberal studies at Hollins University. Stephanie is a mom to one human daughter and multiple chihuahuas … and is obsessed with reading nonfiction, Halloween, and crafting glow necklaces inspired by the Mill Mountain Star. Glow Roanoke!