REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS: GO Virginia Region 2 Project — Brain Drain: Talent Attraction and Retention


The Roanoke Regional Partnership (RRP), Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance (LRBA), and Onward New River Valley (ONRV) are seeking a consultant to conduct a capacity study to address challenges in talent attraction from the 25 colleges and universities within Region 2, the retention of young professionals, and the other challenges faced by regional employers in recruiting young talent. The purpose of the project is to create a talent attraction and retention program for the entire GO Virginia Region 2 service area. 

Work will consist of planning, designing, and implementing five two-hour focus groups, 50 in-depth interviews and an electronic survey/focus group with at least 100 responses.  

Project Description

The consultant will assist the RRP, LRBA, and ONRV in gathering data to understand why college students are leaving the region after graduation and identify ways to attract and retain college educated professionals in the region. The project will involve three components. The first part will consist of five two-hour focus groups of college career professionals, including: college career center directors, professors, and alumni association directors. These sessions will explore perceptions of the region, resource gaps that affect the retention of college students, and other unknown needs that influence the trend of “brain drain” in the region. Opportunities for partnership with the economic development agencies of Region 2 will be sought during these sessions.

The second component will be to conduct 50 in-depth interviews with human resources directors and/or other corporate interests in the region. These interviews will be held with a diverse set of businesses including representatives of skilled manufacturers, life sciences and health care, emerging technology and information technology, as well as other high-wage service sector industries. These interviews will seek insights from professional audiences on difficulties in attracting talent, successful ‘markets’ for attraction (geographies, age groups or characteristics such as ‘boomerang’ or homecomers[1], alumni, or other characteristics), and other observations to guide development of an ongoing talent attraction and retention program of work.

The third component will be to develop and launch a randomized, online survey and focus group of college students. The survey will be distributed through a professional online survey tool and respondents will be screened to ensure they meet specific criteria (undergraduate juniors and seniors, graduate students, etc.).  The objectives of the survey include learning more about college student motivations, desires, awareness of amenities, and career opportunities in Region 2. The survey will be launched after interviews and focus groups have been held to utilize findings from those research efforts in the design of the survey instrument.

Project Goal

The project will fill important informational gaps that will be the basis of knowledge for a talent attraction and recruitment program in the Region 2 area. The initial phase (and the work solicited through this RFP) will involve in-depth discovery. The next phase will be development of an action plan, followed by the launch of a robust talent attraction and retention program guided by a newly-formed, collaborative Talent Action Coalition of representatives of private industry and higher education.


Proposals should be delivered no later than 2 PM on June 15, 2018 to the offices of the Roanoke Regional Partnership at 111 Franklin Road SE, Suite 333, Roanoke, VA 24011.  All costs incurred in preparation of a response to this RFP will be the responsibility of the preparer and will not be reimbursed by the Roanoke Regional Partnership.

Inquiries concerning this RFP should be directed to:

Erin Burcham, Director of Talent Solutions

Roanoke Regional Partnership

111 Franklin Road SE, Suite 333

Roanoke, VA 24011

Ph: (540) 343-1550 x 111


In completing your proposal, please include the following elements:

  • A description of your firm’s capabilities in relation to this project including prior experiences with similar projects
  • Description of your firm’s experience with custom market research
  • Description of your firm’s and staff’s expertise with talent attraction and retention programs
  • A listing of key staff with bios
  • A proposed approach for conducting the study
  • Proposed project timeline
  • A budget to include an estimate of the cost and listing costs by work plan element
  • Three client references

Please include three copies of the full proposal and one electronic copy of the proposal on a flash drive in a sealed envelope clearly marked in the lower left-hand corner with the following information:

GO Virginia – Region 2

Project: Brain Drain: Talent Attraction and Retention

(Date of Submission)

Failure to mark your proposal in the manner specified above may result in premature disclosure of your proposal. It is the responsibility of the preparer to ensure the proposal is received by the Roanoke Regional Partnership by the date and time specified.

Address the proposal as follows:

Erin Burcham, Director of Talent Solutions

Roanoke Regional Partnership

111 Franklin Road SE, Suite 333

Roanoke, VA 24011        

Right to Reject

The RRP, LRBA, and ONRV reserve the right to reject any and all proposals received in response to this RFP.  A contract issued for the accepted proposal will be based upon the factors described in this RFP. 

Notification of Award

The RRP, LRBA, and ONRV will be selecting a consultant by July 16, 2018. All work activities should be completed by July 1, 2019.  Upon conclusion of final negotiations with the successful candidate, all respondents to this RFP will be notified in writing of the name of the successful firm.

Virginia Fair Employment Contracting Act

This contract must certify compliance with the following provisions of the Virginia Fair Employment Contracting Act (or as amended): The contractor will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, religion, color, age, sex, or national origin unless it is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the contractor.  The contractor agrees to post in conspicuous places, available to employee and applicants for employment, notices setting forth the provision for this nondiscrimination clause. 

Virginia State Code 51.01-40: Non-Discrimination under State Grants and Programs

The contract must certify compliance with the following provisions of the state code:

No otherwise qualified person with a disability shall, on the basis of the disability, be excluded from participation, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving state financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by or on behalf of any state agency.


Payments will be made within thirty days after the receipt and verification of an invoice. Payment will be made provided that an invoice and other proper documentation is received and reviewed by the Roanoke Regional Partnership and the Partnership determines that work has been satisfactorily completed.

Proposal Evaluation

Proposals shall be evaluated according to the following criteria. 

Experience with market research studies 0-20
Demonstration of firm’s capabilities 0-10
Experience with talent attraction and retention 0-10
Makeup of staff/consultant team 0-10
Project approach/understanding of work 0-10
Cost/Budget 0-10

Review Process

The RRP, LRBA, and ONRV may, at their discretion, request presentations by or meetings with any or all respondents to clarify or negotiate modifications to proposals. 

However, the RRP, LRBA, and ONRV reserve the right to make an award without further discussion of the proposals submitted. Therefore, proposals, should be submitted initially on the most favorable terms that the respondent can propose. 

Selection will be made on the basis of experience and cost. Numerical ranking will provide the basis for selection though the final selection may take consultant interviews and presentations, should the review committee determine interviews and presentations are desired, into consideration.

[1] Boomerangs and homecomers refer to individuals who were reared in an area or perhaps went to school in a particular area that have left for career opportunities in other markets and have an interest in and/or later return to the market.