- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 7, 2011

RICHMOND — Virginia is launching a new program to assist regions in creating and sustaining economic development opportunities.

Gov. Bob McDonnell on Tuesday announced the Building Collaborative Communities program. It will promote regional economic collaborations in economically distressed areas to stimulate job creation, economic development, and build up communities.

“Collaborative efforts represent the best opportunity for economic growth and prosperity, and this investment demonstrates the commonwealth’s commitment to supporting those areas of Virginia most in need of an economic development spark,” Mr. McDonnell said in a news release.

The program combines several state entities including the Department of Business Assistance, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Virginia Community College System. It also will involve the lieutenant governor’s office and economic advisers in the governor’s office.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who has been tapped as Virginia’s chief jobs creation officer, said research shows that economic competiveness is enhanced in areas around the country where localities work together.

The state is providing $200,000 to support the program in fiscal year 2012.

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