Workforce Focus: Site Selection & Quality Of Life

Community involvement and access to a rich variety of activities and amenities have climbed the list of factors for site decisions.

Virginia: 400+ Years Of Culture, History, Quality of Life

If an executive is seeking a shortcut for assessing the quality of life in a particular area, many outsource the choice to the millennial generation, soon to represent three-quarters of the American workforce. Considering the future of recruiting is all about winning the talent war, Virginia has a leg up. In the Business Facilities 2023 Metro Rankings report “Millennial Magnets” category, the Commonwealth placed two cities in the top 10 of the rankings, with Virginia Beach ranked 7th nationally and Richmond coming in at 9th.

Virginia consistently ranks near the top of quality-of-life rankings, owing to its strong performance in several key categories: education, cost of living, cultural and recreational opportunities, and even the Commonwealth’s four-season climate.

Quality of Life, Site Selection
The American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars
Playhouse in Virginia. (Photo: Virginia Economic Dev. Partnership)
Virginia Tourism Corporation,


That climate—a function of Virginia’s mid-Atlantic location—allows residents to experience all four seasons across the Commonwealth from scenic shorelines to mountain vistas. Virginians can ski, surf, and view beautiful fall foliage without leaving the state. The relatively mild seasonal changes also enable Virginia’s top-notch outdoor recreation opportunities, from hiking and biking trails to water recreation in the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, and Virginia’s abundant rivers and lakes. From the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains to the ocean, one could spend a lifetime traveling Virginia’s trails and waterways and barely scratch the surface of its natural beauty.

Livability Meets Affordability. Virginia’s cost of living tracks national trends, with larger cities coming in slightly above the national average and smaller localities lower. That cost became more competitive in 2022 when the Commonwealth passed the largest tax relief package in its history — nearly $4 billion in relief that included the elimination of the state grocery tax, an income tax deduction for military retirement income for older veterans, and nearly doubling the standard deduction for both single and joint filers.

That competitive tax structure provides top-notch educational opportunities for Virginia residents. CNBC named Virginia the No. 1 state in the U.S. for Education in 2023 and WalletHub ranked the public school system in Virginia first among Southern states, the only state in the region to rank among the top 10 states in both school quality and safety. SmartAsset recognized Virginia as the second-best state for higher education in 2022, while U.S. News & World Report placed three Virginia universities — the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and the College of William & Mary — in the top 25 of its national public university rankings for 2023.

Education Inside And Outside Of The Classroom. In addition to world-class formal education opportunities, few states can match the self-guided educational opportunities Virginia offers. The Commonwealth was at the forefront of the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement, and residents and visitors can visit and study Virginia’s plentiful historical sites and trails, offering a unique opportunity to contextualize major historical events.

Finally, Virginia’s arts culture showcases the brilliant creative talents that emerge from the Commonwealth. Virginia’s large metro areas in Northern Virginia (and across the Potomac River in Washington, DC), Hampton Roads, and the Richmond region boast the enrichment opportunities that one expects in vibrant urban centers, but Virginia’s smaller metros, rural regions, and picturesque small towns are also alive with arts, culture, and music. Institutions like the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, and the historic Barter Theatre in Abingdon, which took its name from its policy of allowing residents to trade farm goods for tickets, engage a wide audience. Virginia also boasts a lively festival calendar, with celebrations occurring year-round in all corners of the state.

In short, no matter you and your family’s choice of leisure, you can do it in Virginia. Just ask the millennials.

Visit to learn more.

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