Congratulations to our 2023
Workforce Innovation Award Honorees!


Community-based Organization

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With over three thousand businesses served and three thousand jobs supported, the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center provides professional business advertising, training, and business resources to Hampton Roads businesses from Williamsburg to the Eastern Shore.



Since 1958, the W.M. Jordan company has proudly worked with clients throughout Virginia and the Carolinas to build the communities we call home. But they do more than just build structures, they build leaders – empowering their people through responsibility and support, encouraging them to engage in lifelong learning and advancing innovation.



As Virginia's fifth largest community college, Virginia peninsula community college works to provide broad and equitable access to higher education and workforce training. Virginia peninsula community college is committed to providing a supportive collegiate environment that will equip students to compete in the global workforce. They are changing lives and transforming our community.


Established as a partnership between City of Chesapeake, Chesapeake Public Schools, Dollar Bank and the Workforce Council, worlds of work expo is a fun, educational, and interactive hands-on opportunity that provides students with insight into high-demand, high-wage career opportunities available in the region.

Workforce Innovators

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Hampton Economic Development and the Academies of Hampton partnership is a collaborative effort between local businesses, industries, economic development organizations and educational institutions, such as schools, colleges, and universities. The primary goal of this partnership is to bridge the gap between the skills and knowledge required by the local job market and the education and training provided to all students. This innovative partnership fosters mutually beneficial relationships that drive economic growth and development while nurturing a skilled and capable workforce for the future.


Workforce Champion

Michael Paris

City of Norfolk


A proud alumnus of Tidewater Community College, Old Dominion University, University of Oklahoma's Economic Development Institute, and regent university where he holds an MBA, Michael Paris is a dedicated and accomplished leader in the field of economic and workforce development.

Mike joined the economic development department seven years ago to help launch Norfolk Works, a workforce effort spearheaded by the advocacy of Norfolk City Council, designed to create access and connect residents to emerging employment opportunities generated by economic development.

Following the success of Norfolk Works, mike was asked to reboot Norfolk Economic Development’s business retention & expansion program - placing a renewed emphasis on supporting existing businesses in traded sectors - one of the primary engines of our regional economy.

As the current bureau manager for the City of Norfolk’s Department of Economic Development and the incoming Secretary-treasurer of the Norfolk Economic Development Authority, Michael has consistently demonstrated his passion for serving businesses and the community. His contributions include helping the city of Norfolk secure commitments for over one-hundred million dollars in new capital investment and more than one-thousand good jobs, paying families raising wages, to be created primarily through existing business expansions.

Michael's numerous accolades underscore his impact on economic development. Just to name a few, he was recognized by the city of Norfolk, receiving the "mermaid" award, and was named as one of the "top 40 under 40" by inside business in 2022, acknowledging his professional and community service contributions. Additionally, his leadership in workforce development and business retention and expansion has earned his teams several excellence in economic development awards from the international economic development council and business retention and expansion international.

Thank You to all of our 2023 Sponsors

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