During Rep. Eric Cantor’s  visit to Virginia Commonwealth University’s da Vinci Center for Innovation on Monday, he declared Virginia as an epicenter of job creation and entrepreneurship, according to an article on workitrichmond.com.

A recent survey by Gallup showed Richmond, Va. in the top five metro areas for job creation out of the 50 largest United States Metropolitan areas. Richmond came in third behind Pittsburg, Pa. and Oklahoma City, Ok. as number one. More than 30% of employers are hiring and just over 14% are laying off workers.

Cantor, the R-7th and the House Majority Leader, toured the da Vinci Center-a collaboration of VCU’s School of the Arts, Business and Engineering-and was impressed with the presentations by two groups of students. “What I saw was a remarkable effort to bring the many assets of VCU together toward creativity and innovation,” he said.

The students are participating in a paid summer internship program, a program he also said encourages the want for students to create job opportunities that contribute to the markets growth in Richmond. Once the presentations were completed “Cantor asked how many of them are interested in becoming “job creators” later in life. Almost all of them raised their hands,” according to the workitrichmond.com article.

Each group is collaborating on real world projects for two Richmond businesses using their diverse backgrounds. One group is working on a project with The Martin Agency to make Tylenol dosing simpler and more accessible for parents. The other group is evaluating the Mary Frances Youth Center and coming up with ways to help the organization stay out of debt.

Future job innovators, like these VCU students, add to the growing list of Richmond jobs and job postings seen on websites like Indeed.com. The job search website stated that “the Richmond, Va. job market is strong compared to the rest of the U.S.”  Job postings had a national decline of 32% while Richmond’s only had a 19% decline.

According to a The New York Times’ Economix blog post, surrounding Richmond cities, like Virginia Beach, have the highest proportion of employers laying off workers.

The da Vinci Center will continue to merge creativity, diversity and business minded students together  to help create innovative projects for job creation in the fall for the launch of its master’s program. Kenneth Kahn, the center’s director, said students will “come in with an idea and leave with a business.”