Economic Opportunity

Economic Opportunity

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

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

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 and 2024. Data will be reviewed regularly to assess trends, inequities, and alignment with the strategies included in the plan.


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. 

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.

NOTE: Strategies have been re-ordered to fit within their related Indicators of Community Success. Strategies with the * symbol have been added to include recommendations from the Chairman's Task Force on Equity and Opportunity.

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 access to services 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.
  • EO 3. Integrate evidence-based interventions in the areas of wealth building into existing county and community programs.
  • * EO 4. Contribute to the closing of the racial wealth gap by supporting the development of ecosystems that facilitate locally owned investment and economic opportunities for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

Promoting Economic Vibrancy in All Parts of Fairfax County

  • EO 5. Implement transparent and flexible land development policies, regulations and processes that keep pace with market conditions and technological innovations and reduce time to market.
  • EO 6. Use data, disaggregated by population and place, to promote and encourage land development so that investment in communities connects people to opportunity and mitigates residential and commercial displacement.
  • * EO 7. Promote the development and preservation of sufficient and affordable commercial space to support small, locally owned businesses.

Healthy Businesses in a Diverse Mix of Industries

  • EO 8. Collaborate with the business community on innovative approaches to attract, retain, support, and expand businesses, particularly in target industries and across various business types and sizes.
  • EO 9. Advance the skills of new business owners by building a more coordinated and impactful network of expertise and support.
  • * EO 10. Promote the equitable and transparent distribution of county resources through the county's contracting and procurement systems and policies.

Promoting Innovation in the Local Economy

  • EO 11. Identify and remove obstacles to targeted economic opportunity enhancement and sustainability in areas such as local procurement.
  • EO 12. 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 13. Focus land development efforts on creating vibrant, transit-connected, walkable mixed-use destinations throughout the county that meet the needs of residents, employers and the workforce.
  • EO 14. Prioritize the use of innovative and evidence-based regulatory, financial and other appropriate incentives to transform areas where residents face numerous economic and social challenges into communities of opportunity.

Preparing People for the Workforce

  • EO 15. Facilitate improved connections between employers and qualified talent by increasing awareness of workforce services and incentives.
  • EO 16. Develop and execute a compelling strategy to support efforts by Fairfax County businesses to train, recruit, and retain talented employees, highlighting and promoting the competitive advantages of the county and the region.
  • EO 17. Develop and implement a roadmap that enables 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 18. 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 provide access to key employment supports such as affordable housing, childcare and transportation.
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