Virginia Tech's engagement with communities is a critical part of its land grant mission. Groups across the university from Virginia Cooperative Extension to the College of Architecture offer important services to communities wrestling with economic development questions. The Center for Economic & Community Engagement (CECE) works with faculty experts from around the university and provides communities with sound technical advice and a venue for policy discussions.
Agency 229 faculty assess research and extension programming using quantitative metrics. CECE was tasked to assess current impacts of Agency 229 as they relate to the economy of Virginia and provide recommendations on how to leverage these activities and funding to increase these impacts in the future.
The Crooked Road
The Crooked Road has branded the region as a unique place with one of the richest musical traditions and cultures in the world and helps to attract tourists, grow businesses, and improve Southwest Virginia’s quality of life for local residents. CECE performed an economic impact analysis to determine the impact The Crooked Road has on the region. The report outlines CECE's findings on the vast impact The Crooked Road has on Southwest Virginia.
CECE completed an assessment on a community kitchen for the City of Roanoke's Economic Development Authority (EDA). This assessment served as a starting point for the LEAP Community Kitchen, a shared commercial kitchen and food business incubator in Roanoke’s West End neighborhood.
Orange County Tourism
CECE researched agriculture and tourism-related economic opportunities for President James Madison’s historic Montpelier home and grounds through a grant sponsored by the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID). The project inventoried and assessed development opportunities that would be a fit for Montpelier’s mission and the rural character of its Orange County surroundings, while offering potential to generate jobs, spur enterprise development, increase visitation, and enhance income in Orange County and the surrounding region.
Rural Retreat Train Depot Revitalization
CECE helped the Rural Retreat Depot Foundation (RRDF) identify and evaluate potential uses for an historic train depot and how it can benefit the community.
Hillsville Farmer's Market Feasibility Study
CECE conducted a feasibility study for a proposed farmer's market in downtown Hillsville, VA, with the goal of promoting healthy eating and making sure healthy foods are accessible to all community members. In 2020, Downtown Hillsville broke ground on the structure for their farmer's market.
Downtown Christiansburg Inc.
Downtown Christiansburg Inc. commissioned the Virginia Tech Center for Economic & Community Engagement to conduct an analysis of the downtown and provide recommendations to bring more vibrancy to the area.