Can the government create jobs?

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Job creation has become an important priority for the Commonwealth of Virginia. But just how much does the government have to do with getting people back to work? HDL laboratories is a cutting edge technology firm located in downtown Richmond.

They credit their success, in part, to policies that are encouraging innovation.

The company uses a special technique to analyze blood to determine risk factors for health problems. They have added more than 100 jobs in less than 6 months. A pace that is so blistering that they are running out of space.

"We are we are trying to push everyone out around us," said Tonya Mallory, the CEO and founder at HDL.

According to Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, HDL is a company with the perfect mix of characteristics to thrive in a new economy.

"This is the place to be," said Bolling.

Bolling, tapped by Governor Bob McDonnell as the commonwealth's chief jobs officer, points to HDL's role in the emerging health care field of preventative medicine. He believes they are in a perfect position to take advantage of a series of programs put in place by Virginia's government.

"Any career in health care is going to be a good career," said Bolling.

And Virginia wants to train as many new health care practitioners as possible. Not only are they investing in new degree programs, but by helping companies like HDL train their employees to get them to the next level of innovation.

"No matter if they came out of the best med school in the world they actually still need to be trained," said Mallory.

But at what cost to you the taxpayer? The vast majority of the McDonnell-Bolling economic agenda has to do with incentivized tax programs, small matched grants and educational opportunities.

For Bolling it's not about directly funding growth. It is about creating an environment where it can flourish on its own.

"If you don't have people that have the skills to do the jobs that businesses need them to do, then you are not going to get the jobs," he said.

So it is working?

Since the Governor announced his jobs and opportunity agenda, the state unemployment rate has dropped 6 tenths of a percent.

Although it is difficult to tell if his policies are directly attributable to the new jobs created.

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