Economic Opportunity

Economic Opportunity

Fairfax County is a place where all people, businesses and places are thriving economically.




Fairfax County is well known for its quality public schools, high median income, low unemployment rate, overall public safety, high concentration of both corporate headquarters and higher education institutions and other key indicators of economic prosperity. Further, the county continues to gain recognition as a source of top talent, especially in the professional and technology sectors.

At the same time, data analysis at the local level reveals that many people and neighborhoods throughout the county do not have equal access to opportunity and are prevented from realizing sustained prosperity and economic mobility as a result. There is also a need to connect historically marginalized people with new job growth, to invest in workforce training and other supports and to help residents achieve financial self-sufficiency.

With the recognition that future economic growth requires the full participation of all Fairfax County populations and places, the proposed strategies in this section focus on building the earning power of residents, supporting startups and small businesses, strategically investing in people and places with lower access to opportunity, and continuing to strongly support the favorable climate that has established Fairfax County as a truly outstanding place to build careers and grow businesses. 

Data Dashboard

Economic Opportunity is the first of ten Community Outcome Areas where headline metrics are visually presented to easily review the data that will continuously inform the Countywide Strategic Plan. The interactive dashboard below provides an overview of the eight headline metrics for Economic Opportunity and enables the reader to access more detailed data and a narrative for context and clarity. Headline metrics for the remaining nine outcome areas will be identified throughout 2023. Data will be reviewed regularly to assess trends, inequities, and alignment with the strategies included in the plan.



Indicators of Success

  • Healthy Businesses in a Diverse Mix of Industries
  • Economic Stability and Upward Mobility for All People
  • Preparing People for the Workforce
  • Promoting Innovation in the Local Economy
  • Promoting Economic Vibrancy in All Parts of Fairfax County

Proposed Strategies

These proposed strategies were developed based on the extensive background work completed by the Countywide Strategic Planning Teams. The Board will determine which strategies will be pursued, as well as when they might be undertaken. This process will be highly flexible and will adapt to respond to community conditions as they evolve over time.

Economic Stability and Upward Mobility for All People

  • EO 1. Provide residents with a comprehensive menu of available services and resources to promote individual and family economic opportunity and facilitate broad access through proactive community engagement.
  • EO 2. Focus efforts on removing barriers such as lack of affordable housing, childcare and transportation that limit participation in the workforce and employment-related programs (also under Promoting Economic Vibrancy in All Parts of Fairfax County).
  • EO 3. Integrate evidence-based interventions in the areas of wealth building and personal financial coaching into existing county and community programs that are designed to promote economic self-sufficiency.

Promoting Economic Vibrancy in All Parts of Fairfax County

  • EO 4. Implement transparent and flexible land development policies, regulations and processes that keep pace with market conditions and technological innovations.
  • EO 5. Streamline the land development process to reduce time to market.
  • EO 6. Use data, disaggregated by population and place, to guide land development and investment in communities with the greatest need to improve economic opportunity.

Healthy Businesses in a Diverse Mix of Industries

  • EO 7. Collaborate with the business community to explore innovative approaches to enhance efforts to attract, retain, support, and expand businesses, particularly in target industries and across various types and sizes (also under Promoting Innovation in the Local Economy).
  • EO 8. Advance the skills of new business owners by assessing currently available county and community services and building a more coordinated and impactful network of expertise and support (also under Promoting Innovation in the Local Economy).

Promoting Innovation in the Local Economy

  • EO 9. Identify, and work to remove at the state level, obstacles to targeted economic opportunity enhancement and sustainability in areas such as local procurement.
  • EO 11. Partner with businesses, universities, research institutions and incubators to foster innovation that supports high-impact entrepreneurship, attracts capital, creates jobs, builds a relevant workforce and stimulates economic growth.
  • EO 12. Focus land development efforts on creating a variety of vibrant, transit-connected, walkable mixed-use destinations throughout the county that meet the needs of residents, employers and the workforce.
  • EO 13. Prioritize the use of innovative and evidence-based regulatory, financial and other incentives to transform areas where residents face numerous economic and social challenges into communities of opportunity (also under Economic Stability and Upward Mobility for All People).

Preparing People for the Workforce

  • EO 10. Facilitate improved connection between employers and qualified talent by increasing awareness of workforce services and incentives (also under Economic Stability and Upward Mobility for All People).
  • EO 14. Develop and execute a compelling marketing strategy to support efforts by Fairfax County businesses to recruit and retain talented employees, highlighting and promoting the competitive advantages of the county and the region.
  • EO 15. Develop and implement a roadmap that enables our most economically disadvantaged residents to build fundamental workforce competencies, including technology acumen and English proficiency, in alignment with employer requirements and through leveraging existing county and community resources.
  • EO 16. Leverage the county’s position as a large employer to build a diverse, representative workforce, continually developing the skills of existing employees; increasing internships and other work-based learning opportunities for youth; and providing access to key employment supports such as affordable housing, childcare and transportation.
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