America's East Coast Tech Hub

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America’s East Coast Tech Hub
Torc Robotics, Montgomery County MITRE, Fairfax County Accenture, Arlington County WillowTree, A TELUS International Company, Albemarle County

America’s East Coast Tech Hub

Over the last few decades, the Commonwealth of Virginia has become one of North America’s premier locations for the tech sector.

Thousands of tech firms and tech industry leaders have been attracted to Virginia by its combination of diverse, world-class talent, exceptional quality of life, attractive business climate, and competitive costs.

Why Virginia? 1 America’s Top State for Talent 3 Highest Concentration of Tech Talent in the United States 11 Globally Diverse and Inclusive State 25 Strategic Location for Global Connectivity 27 Attractive, Stable, and Predictable Operating Environment 19 Exceptional Quality of Life 15 World-Class Talent at a Competitive Cost 7 Largest U.S. Investment in CS Education 13 Large and Diverse Tech Ecosystem 21 Largest Data Center Market in the World

America’s Top State for Talent

Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for Education by CNBC, Virginia has one of the best higher education systems in the world (No. 2 in the U.S. according to SmartAsset).

Additionally, Virginia ensures that tech firms can quickly attract and onboard high-quality employees by offering a world-class, customized talent acquisition and training solution through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program. As an alternative, Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) grants are available for companies that prefer to manage their own recruitment and training. Virginia Talent Accelerator Program clients span industries as diverse as manufacturing (The LEGO Group), aerospace (Rocket Lab), pharmaceutical manufacturing (Civica Inc.), and headquarters (CMA CGM Group).

Being close to our customer base is extremely important to our ongoing collaborations. Our expansion [in Northern Virginia] will allow Microsoft to deliver even more solutions from a region known for its innovation and passion for technology.


Microsoft Corporation’s Expanding Virginia Footprint

Microsoft, one of the largest internet service providers and developers of software programs in the world, has steadily expanded its presence in Virginia since 2002 with corporate locations in Reston and Henrico County, as well as a major enterprise data center in Mecklenburg County. In May 2020, Microsoft committed to investing $64 million in a state-of-theart software development and R&D regional hub in Fairfax County, creating 1,500 new jobs. The decision to establish the new 400,000-square-foot client-facing, “high-touch” workplace was driven ultimately by talent and access to customers.

Northern Virginia’s robust workforce was a critical factor — the new operation would require a significant pool of highly skilled, technical cloud computing and AI talent. The Washington, D.C.-Metro area already provides access to the largest tech industry labor pool in the country. Virginia Tech’s $1 billion, 1 millionsquare-foot graduate Innovation Campus focused on technology will enroll 750 master’s candidates and hundreds of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows when complete, and a joint bachelor’s degree program in cloud computing from George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College will ensure

a long-term tech talent pipeline to meet the needs of existing and new technology businesses. Microsoft plans to use a $22.5 million custom performance grant from Virginia to fund partnerships with local colleges and universities to further develop the talent pipeline for cloud computing and related degrees in support of its expansion.

Connectivity was also a key driver for Microsoft, which has first-hand knowledge of Virginia’s advantages for the data center industry — the company has expanded its Mecklenburg County site six times in 10 years as demand for cloud and online services continues to increase. One of the company’s core principles is using customer feedback to improve technology, and Northern Virginia’s position as a tech hub will allow Microsoft to continue close, collaborative partnerships with its rapidly growing customer base from the newest operation in Fairfax County.

Microsoft is a global leader dedicated to digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. The company’s continued investment in the Commonwealth is a testament to the strength of Virginia’s tech talent and competitiveness on the national stage.

Microsoft Corporation rendering, Fairfax County

Highest Concentration of Tech Talent in the


United States

Virginia offers tech firms access to the highest concentration of tech talent and the third-largest tech industry workforce in the nation, with 330,000 people working in the tech sector and/or tech occupations. Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic location facilitates talent attraction from the entire Eastern Seaboard and beyond.


We were particularly impressed by the dedication to higher education and the K-12 talent pipeline [in Virginia]. The investments the local community and the state are going to make are really going to augment the great talent pipeline, which is a primary reason why we chose the Commonwealth for this new headquarters.

Amazon HQ2 rendering, Arlington County

The Prime Location for HQ2

After a 14-month competitive site selection process during which Amazon received 238 proposals from communities across North America, the tech giant announced plans in 2018 to invest approximately $2.5 billion to establish a major new headquarters (HQ2) in Virginia, creating more than 25,000 high-paying jobs. Virginia successfully secured the historic project through unprecedented state, regional, and local partnerships. The foundation of the cooperative pitch for Amazon HQ2 was centered on Virginia’s thriving tech sector and talent — including a commitment to a pipeline for the future.

In the four-plus years since Amazon tapped Arlington as the home of its highly sought-after HQ2, Northern Virginia’s innovation ecosystem has been supercharged. HQ2’s campus is taking root in National Landing, comprising parts of Arlington County and the city of Alexandria, overlooking the U.S. Capitol and the Potomac River. The sprawling community will include Virginia Tech’s future Innovation Campus, transportation infrastructure upgrades to prioritize pedestrian and bicycle traffic, significant retail and affordable housing investments, two 22-story towers, and Metropolitan Park, a public open space including a dog park, art walk, and recreation areas.

HQ2’s first phase of development, the Metropolitan Park campus, is set to open in summer 2023. It includes two 22-story LEED-Platinum office buildings encompassing 2.1 million square feet, 50,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and a 2.75-acre public park. The development will be powered by electricity from a new, 45-megawatt solar farm currently under construction in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

Phase two of HQ2, PenPlace, will be located on a 10.4-acre site in Pentagon City and ultimately include 3.2 million square feet of office development across four buildings, including its centerpiece dubbed The Helix — a distinctive double helix structure spiraling up the outside of the 370,000-square-foot building that will feature plants that could be found on a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. PenPlace will also feature 2.5 acres of open green space that will flow around the base of the Helix and connect all four of the 22-story towers. The $2.5 billion PenPlace campus is expected to include 100,000 square feet of retail across 12 storefronts, a 20,000-square-foot community center, a 250-seat public amphitheater, dog run, and underground vehicle access.

Access to tech talent was a critical site selection factor, and hiring for HQ2 is well underway. As of February 2023, more than 5,000 employees have been hired. Amazon plans to fill its campuses with at least 25,000 total employees.


America’s Largest Investment in Tech Education Largest U.S. Investment in CS Education

Through its historic, innovative Tech Talent Investment Program, targeted philanthropic gifts, corporate partnerships, and K-12 computer science initiatives, Virginia is investing more than $2 billion to expand its tech talent pipeline, doubling the number of graduates each year in computer science and closely related fields.

Additionally, Virginia higher education institutions already produce roughly 12,000 tech-related degrees and certificates annually in areas ranging from computer science to modeling and simulation.

Virginia’s Tech Talent Investment Program

Master’s-Level CS Education in Northern Virginia

Education Students

Statewide community college Tech Talent Education

Statewide Bachelor’s-Level CS Education

Strengthening the K-12 Tech Talent Pipeline Statewide
Tech Internship program for Higher


additional graduates in excess of current levels in Computer Science and related fields over the next 20 years due to Virginia’s new education investments in tech talent

Thanks to the support from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Tech Talent Investment Program, Virginia Tech is creating a bold new vision for graduate education in computer science and computer engineering that will unlock the power of diverse people and ideas to solve the world’s most pressing problems through technology.

Located adjacent to the nation’s capital in Alexandria, Virginia Tech’s new $1 billion, 1 million-square-foot graduate Innovation Campus will unite industry, government, and academia in dynamic project-based learning and research to shape the way knowledge and emerging technologies influence society, driving a new era for the greater Washington, D.C. area’s innovation economy. Some highlights include:

■ Designed for partnerships. Project-based learning will blur the lines between research and education and invite industry partners to be integral to the programs and experiences taking place at the Innovation Campus and create industry-ready graduates prepared to make a difference in the tech sector.

■ Purpose-driven research. Once fully built out, the Innovation Campus will support about half a dozen broad research areas of excellence. Potential focus areas include cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, nextgeneration wireless, and quantum information science and technology.

■ Built for scale. Virginia Tech’s $1 billion, 1 million-square-foot graduate Innovation Campus focused on technology positions the university and its future partners near the nation’s capital, diverse industries, and leading tech companies, including Amazon. Construction on the Alexandria campus’s first academic building, a 300,000-square-foot, 11-story gem-shaped structure, began in September 2021 and the new facility is set to open in fall 2024. Plans call for Virginia Tech to build two additional 150,000-square-foot buildings as the campus grows. The total number of current Innovation Campus graduate students is nearly 300, and the campus will enroll 750 master’s candidates and hundreds of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows when complete.

■ New pathways for students. A new Virginia Tech partnership program allows undergraduate students at James Madison University, Christopher Newport University, the University of Mary Washington, Radford University, and Hollins University to apply early and earn graduate credits in master’s degree programs based at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. Virginia Tech is partnering with Alexandria City Public Schools to enhance science, technology, engineering, and math opportunities for students and create potential pathways to higher education.

Virginia Tech Innovation Campus rendering, Alexandria

Through the generous support of Virginia’s Tech Talent Investment Program, over the next several years George Mason’s Arlington Campus will undergo a $250 million transformation that will serve as a critical catalyst in the further activation of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, a dynamic and growing innovation district with a thriving high-tech ecosystem. Mason’s Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA) will engage researchers, innovators, and scholars in cutting-edge work to shape the future of our digital society, promoting equality, wellbeing, security, and prosperity. Over 300 George Mason students, faculty members, and research staff will explore topics along several themes:

Technologies: Inventing new algorithms, digital techniques, and technologies;

Systems: Developing and deploying computing systems to advance fields as diverse as finance, education, built infrastructure, science, economics, agriculture, health, transportation, entertainment, national security, and social justice; and

Digital Society: Engaging in critical reflection that examines the implications of digital innovation to ensure that innovators are sensitive to designing and innovating responsibly, and that key stakeholders –including users, innovators, policy-makers, and the public at large – are informed about technology’s social, ethical, political, and economic impacts.

The Mason IDIA will not only support the university’s tech-based research and related educational programs, but will provide collaboration and convening spaces to support public programming for the Arlington community. The building will include an approximately 360,500-square-foot building on Mason’s Arlington campus with the goal to add 15,000 more computer science and engineering graduates during the next two decades. The new building is targeted to open in summer 2025.

George Mason University Institute for Digital InnovAtion, Arlington Concept rendering by Mason Innovation Partners / EYP

Globally Diverse and Inclusive State

Virginia is home to one of the most diverse tech workforces in the country, ranking among the top 10 states for the percentage of tech workers who are Asian American (20%) and Black (14%). Virginia’s tech workforce also stands out for its international character, with 25% of tech workers born outside the U.S., representing the 10th most international tech workforce in the country.

Appian, Fairfax County

In 2020, Virginia became the first state in the South to extend workplace antidiscrimination protections to the LGBTQ+ community. The Virginia Values Act (VVA) expands the Virginia Human Rights Act by including the LGBTQ+ community and by increasing the number of employers subject to the law. Before this expansion, the Virginia Human Rights Act was only applicable to small employers, but these new changes extended the law’s protections for non-age-related discrimination to any employer with more than five employees.

Virginia Pride’s PrideFest, Richmond Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Henrico County Old Town Alexandria Waterfront

Large and Diverse Tech Ecosystem

Illustrative Examples of Tech Headquarters and Centers in Virginia

Technology businesses relocating or expanding into Virginia join world-class tech leaders like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Meta, as well as companies in emerging sectors such as artificial intelligence/machine learning, FinTech, Manufacturing Tech, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). According to Cyberseek, Virginia is also home to the third-largest cybersecurity sector in the country.


World-Class Talent at a Competitive Cost

Tech companies can hire high-quality tech talent in Virginia at salaries that compare favorably with competing markets.

Salaries in Northern Virginia, one of the world’s leading tech hubs, average less than most major tech metros, and salaries for tech talent in other parts of the state are competitive with smaller markets in other states, enabling tech firms to choose the best market, talent mix, and budget for their particular needs.

1901 Group is committed to investing in growing talent to address the deficit of cloud engineering and cyber talent in the public sector. Our business model is based on engaging rural communities to create the next wave of IT talent focused on automation, streamlining, and continual improvement in large-scale IT environments.

MicroStrategy, Fairfax County
Company (2009-2022)

We have chosen Fairfax County, considered the East Coast center of technology innovation, for its proximity to the nation’s capital, a vibrant business community, access to several international airports and Metro’s Silver Line, and an incredibly diverse and highly educated workforce.

1901 Group, A Leidos Company, Montgomery County

Rural and Small Metro Tech Hubs

In addition to nationally ranked tech hubs, Virginia is home to many rural and small metro locations ideal for companies looking to attract and retain tech talent in lower-cost markets. These target communities offer a growing, robust tech talent pipeline from the Commonwealth’s premier colleges and universities leading the charge on tech innovation, in addition to lower average tech wages, low turnover, and a high quality of life. Virginia’s rural and small metro tech hubs boast favorable operating costs for onshore delivery centers, software firms, and others.

CGI Pioneers Rural Tech Model in Russell County

Founded in 1976 and headquartered in Fairfax County, CGI Group Inc. is one of the largest independent information technology (IT) and business process services firms in the world. CGI pioneered the business model known as onshoring — creating IT centers in rural areas of the country. CGI’s first center was established in Russell County in 2006, and the company continues to find efficiencies from lower talent attrition to cost savings to stronger data security that benefit CGI and its clients. CGI credits strong government and university partners for its rural successes, hiring several hundred people each year from Virginia universities.

If you’ve got the government in partnership with you and if you have good relationships with universities within a 100-mile radius, do it. I can’t imagine it working better than it’s worked. We have extremely talented people in Russell County that do terrific work, and we’ve been able to hold the number of jobs constant for 15 years. It really has been a terrific experience.

TIM HURLEBAUS President, U.S. Commercial and State Government, CGI Group Inc. CGI Group Inc., Fairfax County

WillowTree — High-Impact Tech Work with Roots

Founded in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2008 by three people building mobile apps, WillowTree, a TELUS International Company, began as a software strategy, design, and development company committed to helping clients realize the potential of rapidly evolving digital products and technology.

The company has expanded into a full-service digital product consultancy that helps the world’s leading brands – such as FOX Sports, PepsiCo, National Geographic, Regal Cinemas, Hilton, Domino’s, HBO, Wyndham Hotels, and Johnson & Johnson – create digital products that impact millions and improve lives.

WillowTree has grown from three employees to more than 1,000 team members since its founding, leading the company to expand from its offices in Charlottesville to additional locations in North Carolina, Ohio, Boston, New York, and beyond. Even after its acquisition in 2023 by TELUS International Company, WillowTree never once considered relocating its headquarters to a traditional tech hub.

With collaboration and coworking at the center of its corporate philosophy, WillowTree continues to find success in Charlottesville — a smaller cosmopolitan area

with high quality of life, comparably low cost of living, and proximity to world-class learning institutions.

After considering multiple locations in Virginia and North Carolina, WillowTree announced in 2018 a $20.6 million investment to relocate its headquarters to Woolen Mills in Albemarle County, creating 200 new jobs and bringing a shuttered historical asset back into productive use. WillowTree continues to benefit from Virginia’s robust IT sector, which boasts the highest concentration of tech talent in the nation and a network of higher education institutions that train the workforce for the jobs of the future.

It was very important to me to be able to keep WillowTree in Virginia. We are tremendously grateful to the Commonwealth of Virginia and Albemarle County for their financial support, and we hope that this partnership is mutually beneficial and long-lasting. The region’s dynamic workforce and strong quality of life allow us to attract the best employees and support our mission of creating products people love. We intend to add more than 200 members to our team over the next two years, and we are delighted to be able to do it here in Albemarle County.

WillowTree, A TELUS International Company, Albemarle County

Exceptional Quality of Life

With a competitive cost of living, a mild four-season climate, and a diverse range of natural and cultural attractions, Virginia offers an exceptional quality of life. Vibrant urban centers and picturesque small towns are alive with arts, culture, history, and stunning landscapes. Outdoor enthusiasts are within easy driving distance to the scenic shorelines of Virginia’s beaches and rivers as well as hiking trails and mountain vistas. For these reasons and many others, Forbes ranked Virginia No. 1 in the U.S. for Quality of Life.

Tinker Cliffs, Botetourt County Virginia Creeper Trail, Washington County The Omni Homestead Resort, Bath County
Smith Mountain Lake, Bedford County Arlington County Sandbridge, Virginia Beach Carpenter Theatre, Richmond

Largest Data Center Market in the World

Building on a rich history of federal investments in fiber optics as well as pioneering tax advantages, Virginia hosts the largest data center market in the world and is home to more than 35% (~150) of all known hyperscale data centers worldwide.

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Northern Shenandoah Valley

Virginia hosts the largest data center market in the world and is home to 35% (almost 150) of all known hyperscale data centers worldwide. Data centers operating in Virginia benefit from densely packed fiber backbones, as well as an advantageous cost environment centered on a competitive tax rate, affordable and abundant electricity (with rapidly expanding renewable power options), and competitive construction costs.

Virginia offers an exemption from retail sales and use tax for qualifying computer equipment purchased by data centers that meet statutory investment and employment requirements. Virginia was the first state to allow the tenants of colocation data centers to receive the benefit of the sales tax exemption. In addition, local business property tax rates on computer and related equipment for data centers have been reduced by a number of localities.

Today, virtually every data center is making interconnection with subsea cables a priority to support data-driven global business... This confluence of domestic and international connectivity has established the region as an international business destination.

Virginia is Home to the First Subsea Cable Connections in the Mid-Atlantic 24

Strategic Location that Enables Global Connectivity

Strategic Location for Global Connectivity

Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic location offers tech firms proximity to economic centers up and down the East Coast, including critical customer markets like the federal government, Northeast Corridor, and Southeast metro areas.

16 commercial airports serve Virginia with direct flights to 100+ domestic and 50+ international destinations


among Southeastern states for public transit usage

2,000+ mi. of fiber, ensuring ubiquitous access to broadband for tech firms

47% of the U.S. population located in the Eastern Time Zone

$36.6 billion committed for transportation projects over the next six years


Meta Friends Virginia

In October 2017, Meta announced plans to establish a 970,000-square-foot data center in the White Oak Technology Park in Henrico County. The company committed to investing $750 million in the project, as well as hundreds of millions of additional dollars in the construction of multiple solar facilities to service Meta’s Henrico Data Center with 100% renewable energy.

Site work began in February 2018, thanks to Henrico County’s fast permitting approval program and the development-ready site at White Oak Technology Park. In September 2018, Meta announced an additional investment of $750 million to construct three new 500,000-square-foot buildings. The first phase of the Henrico Data Center campus officially went online in August 2020 and is being delivered in multiple phases, with an anticipated completion date of late 2023.

The $1 billion campus is estimated to be at least four football fields long, a total of 2.5 million square feet across more than 350 acres, and cooled using outside air. At full operational capacity, Meta will employ at

least 200 Virginians in positions that include technical operations, electricians, air-conditioning and heating specialists, culinary, cleaning, logistics, security, and more.

Meta has worked closely with Dominion Energy and other partners to bring over 500MW of new renewable energy to the Virginia grid, and the Henrico campus is supported by 100% new solar energy sourced from the Commonwealth. In 2021, Meta announced that the Henrico Data Center was awarded LEED Gold certification, a program that focuses on energy modeling rather than actual energy consumption. Meta’s Henrico operations were at least 80% more water efficient than the average data center, 100% solar powered, and recycled over 50,000 tons (82%) of its construction waste in 2021.

Virginia offers Meta the full package: infrastructure with room to grow, access to renewable energy, and a talented pool of employees to keep the Henrico Data Center online for years to come.

Meta, Henrico County
CACI International, Fairfax County
The Motley Fool, Alexandria Iron Mountain, Prince William County

Attractive, Stable, and Predictable Operating Environment

Ranked one of America’s top states for business, Virginia is frequently recognized for its favorable regulatory climate and consistently rated one of the best-run states in the country. The Commonwealth also offers low and stable business taxes, as well as favorable salaries and corporate lease rates, providing tech operations with stable, competitive, and predictable costs for the long-term.

Virginia has had a stable 6% corporate income tax rate, one of the lowest in the nation, since 1972.

Virginia’s metro areas offer a lower average lease cost for Class A office space than many popular headquarters locations in the United States.

Sound economic policy and prudent financial management has earned Virginia an AAA credit rating since 1938 — longer than any other state.

From highly urbanized areas to medium metros and rural areas, Virginia’s construction costs fall below the national average by 5% to 15%.


The James River is a popular destination for water activities, particularly near the fall line, which passes through downtown Richmond. The rapids there are billed as the only urban Class III-IV rapids in the United States.

Expertise • Collaboration • Innovation


The Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals is committed to Virginia’s economic success, and connects industry-leading businesses to the resources they need to make relocations and expansions successful. From site selection, customized research, cost analysis, and coordination with public and private partners, to discretionary incentives and workforce solutions, VEDP’s services are tailored to companies’ unique requirements.

To learn more about VEDP’s expertise and resources, visit

© August 2023

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