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Jobs and Travel in Historic Harrisonburg, Northern Virginia

Updated on August 15, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful employment & training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

Shenandoah River


Harrisonburg is a Survivor

Harrisonburg is located in Rockingham Country in Virginia, near Richmond. The list of the Top 30 Cities for Jobs in America, even in a recession, contains Harrisonburg at Number 25 and rising.Its location in Northern Virginia or NOVA is an advantage, because this region of the Commonwealth of Virginia is comparatively wealthy.

This city was very important to the American Revolution, the American Civil War, the 20th century; and on into the 21st century as a leader out of recession. Harrisonburg has survived it all and thrived, offering increasing numbers of jobs, businesses, educational, and travel opportunities.

Harrisonburg Began with Just 2.5 Acres of Land


Rocktown was once the main city in Rockingham County. Its name changed as Harrisonburg was founded at the spot right after the birth of the New Nation, the United States of America.

In 1779, Mr. Thomas Harrison deeded 2 ½ acres of property to the government and began the City of Harrisonburg in the new Commonwealth of Virginia.

Harrisonburg - Northern Virginia/NOVA

Harrisonburg, VA, USA

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Shenandoah River:
Shenandoah River, United States

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Founder of Harrisonburg Initiates Town Before the Revolution

Mr. Harrison had brought his family over from England to Virginia Colony long ago, in 1737, claiming over 12,000 acres of land in Rockingham County.

In 1778, Virginia Colony had already names this acreage Harrisonburg. The original family home is still standing on Bruce Street in the 21st century. In 1779, the county built a courthouse on Courthouse Square, which hosts a newer county court house today. By 1849, Harrisonburg was home to 200 taxpayers – annual budget less than $25h

During the Civil War, the city (part of the Confederacy) saw Union and Confederate troops both fight their way through the county. The fence around the courthouse was actually used as a stockade to hold Union prisoners.

After the war and until 1892, the city grew in land acquisitions and increased residents to 2,000. The Superintendent of Public Instruction was an office formed after the Civil War in order to begin a public school system and this helped grow the city even more. It became a good place to raise a family as to prosper.

Oh Shenandoah - A Cappela, with Apalachee Nation

Revitalization is Key to Survival and Success

In the new 20th century, in 1908, the Virginia General Assembly founded the State Normal (teacher’s) and Industrial School for Women in the city. The institution developed in 30 years to become the State Teachers College and then the renowned Madison College.

The year 1977 saw the school renamed James Madison University. Eastern Mennonite University was founded in 1917 and today boasts an effective undergraduate and graduate training program. Adult Education is also a specialty at EMU.

Harrisonburg prospered all along and continues to do so in the 21st century. The regional Rockingham Memorial Hospital, founded in 1912, serves several counties in the Shenandoah Valley and others in West Virginia. As healthcare grows as an industry, additional services are added to RMH.

By 1920 Harrisonburg recorded a population of almost 6.000 residents. Fifty years later, in 1970, the population was almost 20,000. In 2009, estimates of population before the 2010 US Census stood at around 43,000 within the city. With this growing population came expanding suburbs and the need for revitalization in the inner sections of the city. The early 2000s were ripe for this action.

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and the city government have created several worthwhile and interesting historic districts:

  • Virginia Main Street Community in Harrisonburg.
  • Harrisonburg National Historic District
  • Harrisonburg State Historic District.

All of these commemorate the founding of America, survival and prosperity after the American Civil War, and dedication to preserving the past while equipping future generations with living and work space, business, and education.

Historic Districts

Virginia Main Street Community in Harrisonburg:
Community St, Harrisonburg, VA 22802, USA

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Harrisonburg National and State Historic Districts; 212 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801:
212 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

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Historic Newtown

Freed by Abraham Lincoln in 1865, the former slaves of the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia founded their own city near Harrisonburg and named it Newtown. It was later annexed by Harrisonburg about 1890.

Today, the historic remnants of Newtown contain Harrisonburg’s traditionally Black churches like the American Methodist Episcopal and Baptist congregations. A segregated school has been turned into a major Boys and Girls Club.

Despite the shift from residential to commercial properties in the 1950s, Newtown is still a living part of Harrisonburg - more so, since the city revitalization projects began to take shape in the 2000s to redesign and build up urban and suburban areas..

Sustainable Harrisonburg

City of Harrisonburg and local colleges and universities, as well as businesses are taking stewardship and sustainability to heart to create community and a healthier environment in the historic region of Virginia's Shenandoah valley.

Business Trends

Job listing Trends In Harrisonburg

Notice that the high point on the graph shows a 3.000% increase in listings.
Notice that the high point on the graph shows a 3.000% increase in listings. | Source

Leading Job Advertisers Throughout 2016 in This Market Area

  1. American Professional Truck Driving Academy - Trucking Driving was the Number One job in the nation from 2014 - 2016. Locally, RE Garrison, JB Hunt Trucking, DTL Transport.
  2. Aramark
  3. Holtzman Corporation - Growing line of restaurants that need crew and managers.
  4. Augusta Health
  5. Barr-Nunn Trucking Company
  6. Burger Busters, Burger King, McDonald's Restaurants
  7. James Madison University
  8. Sentara Healthcare
  9. Harrisonburg City Public Schools
  10. Food Lion

Pilgrim's Pride HQ in Pittsburg, Texas. Owner of Wampler's.
Pilgrim's Pride HQ in Pittsburg, Texas. Owner of Wampler's. | Source

Largest Employers in Greater Harrisonburg

  1. Pilgrim's Pride/Wampler Foods (
  2. James Madison University (
  3. Harrisonburg Public Schools
  4. Aramark
  5. City of Harrisonburg Government
  6. Tenneco Automotive Operations
  7. Fairfield and Sons
  8. George's Foods
  9. Eastern Mennonite University
  10. Virginia Mennonite Retirement
  11. Sentara Healthcare
  12. Tenneco Packaging
  13. Owens Brockway Plastic Products
  14. Cargill Turkey Production
  15. Food Lion

Additional Large Local Companies

  1. Rockingham County and Augusta County School Boards
  2. Rockingham Memorial Hospital (
  3. Augusta Medical Center (
  4. Merck & Company Inc. (

Rockingham Memorial Hospital

This great regional facility offers an effective Cencer diagnostic and treatment center as well as numerous other services. From taberandrew at flickr.
This great regional facility offers an effective Cencer diagnostic and treatment center as well as numerous other services. From taberandrew at flickr.

Unique Top 10 Jobs in Rockingham County

The Shenandoah Valley offers job opportunities that one might nor expect. The top 10 fast growing Jobs through 2018 are in the following lists.

  1. Veterinary Techs, with an 80% increase expected.
  2. Registered Nurses (RNs)
  3. Social Scientists and related jobs, like techs
  4. Medical Assistants
  5. Home Health Aides (HHAs)
  6. Physical Therapists and Assistants
  7. Dental Assistants and Hygienists
  8. Real Estate Appraisers
  9. Veterinarians and related staff
  10. Healthcare Support Staff

A further set of higher-demand occupations include

  • EMTs and Paramedics
  • Medical and Public Health Social Workers
  • Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Instructional Coordinators - All types of education.
  • Social Services jobs
  • Cardiovascular Techs
  • Personal Financial Advisors
  • Radiology Techs

Courthouse Square

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National Historic Register - Downtown Harrisonburg
National Historic Register - Downtown Harrisonburg
National Historic Register - Downtown Harrisonburg

Additional Job Opportunities

Through 2018 the local Industries to watch include

  • Education & Library Sector
  • Healthcare
  • Computers/IT
  • Food Service and Dining Places and related tourism

All of these industry sectors are expected to expand and bring in new businesses and jobs as the population of NOVa increases.

Graduate School, James Madison University.
Graduate School, James Madison University.

Higher Education & Adult Training

Colleges and Universities

Other Programs

  • Dayton Learning Center - Alternative learning, public school system.
  • Education & Training Corporation
  • Experience Works - Programs of employment and training for workers ages 55 and older.
  • Massanutten Technical Center
  • Telamon Corporation - Includes pre-employment training.
  • Virginia Employment Commission Office in Harrisonburg - Employment and training services available for all ages of workers.
  • Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center - Vocational services.

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


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