Praising Danville’s ‘world-class workforce,’ governor announces Work Ready Community designation

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday that Danville has been named a certified Work Ready Community — a nationally recognized designation by the state government and the American College Testing.

In short, that means the city will attract new businesses and jobs because the city’s high school students have job-ready skills.

“We’re here today to talk about Danville’s world-class workforce,” Northam said during a gathering at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

Danville is the fifth Virginia community to receive the designation. Pittsylvania County was named a Work Ready Community in June 2016 by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Henry and Halifax County, as well as the city of Martinsville have also earned this designation. Patrick County is 92 percent of the way to being named another one.

“Danville’s recognition as a certified work ready community serves as evidence that we have continued to make investments that result in our community becoming more competitive and closing the skills gap that paralyzed the economy in this region for many years,” Danville Public Schools Superintendent Stanley Jones said.

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In visit, governor praises Dan River Region’s precision machining programs

In visit, governor praises Dan River Region’s precision machining programs

The Dan River Region’s precision machining programs not only brought Virginia’s top elected official to Danville on Tuesday, it attracted another state’s governor as well.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson toured the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and other facilities to provide an example to Hutchinson and his delegation of community investment in workforce training.

“After seeing it, I’m glad that I came,” Hutchinson told the Danville Register & Bee following a tour of the Institute and its Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining. “It’s an amazing investment in the community and its future.”

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GW precision machining facility one-of-a-kind in state, governor says

GW precision machining facility one-of-a-kind in state, governor says

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, along with Danville government and education leaders and dozens of high school students, participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for George Washington High School’s new precision machining program Thursday.

“This is the only facility like it in the commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said in a speech beforehand. “No other high school has anything like it.”

Along with Danville City Council and Danville School Board members, the machining program’s first class of nine students sat in the front row while McAuliffe introduced the program. Before the speeches, the students showed off the practice area and classrooms in the new facility, which included dozens of shiny aluminum machines the size of office desks, a computer lab with dozens of computers and a classroom.

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Commonwealth of Virginia Creates New Workforce

Commonwealth of Virginia Creates New Workforce

Southeast Manufacturing News featured an article on Virginia's workforce development program in the August 2017 issue.

View the virtual edition.

 
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Hiring, Training and Supporting the Workforce in School and on the Job

Hiring, Training and Supporting the Workforce in School and on the Job

Virginia’s Rolls-Royce Crosspointe plant shares its strategies for attracting, hiring and supporting its workers, while Danville Community College excels with its integrated machining education model.

Photo: This worktable demonstrates some of the more interesting parts students are tasked with machining in the Gene Haas Center. Rather than take contracts from customers, the program focuses on giving students work that ensures that they leave with core competencies in milling, grinding, EDM, tool presetting and metrology.

A recurring topic of discussion during my recent trip touring Virginian manufacturing facilities was labor: finding it, hiring it, training it. For some manufacturers, the local reality is that there are not enough already-skilled people looking for work. Hiring under these circumstances entails offering access to technical education of some kind, or a lot of on-the-job training. On the other hand, some other manufacturers have been able to partner with local higher-education institutions in order to establish “pipelines” of people with the skills necessary to begin work with less additional training.

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DCC ‘Cyber Team’ honored at national summit

DCC ‘Cyber Team’ honored at national summit

The Danville Community College “Cyber Team” was honored Wednesday at the National Cyber Security Summit in Huntsville, Alabama.

DCC’s cyber security and cyber crime programs were recognized for earning the Center of Academic Excellence in Two-Year Education (CAE2Y) designation from the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security earlier this year.

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Institute debuts new Inspiration Lab

Institute debuts new Inspiration Lab

Danville’s Institute for Advanced Learning and Research unveiled a new mobile lab Thursday morning, which Don Merricks, chairman of the Institute’s board of trustees, hopes will be a “game changer for the whole region.”

The mobile lab serves eight localities in the Dan River Region encompassing more than 4,000 square miles.

The Inspiration Lab will replace the old mobile lab, which will be used by Patrick Henry Community College, according to Julie Brown, director of advanced learning at the Institute. The mobile lab has travelled more than 60,000 miles over the last seven years, according to Merricks, and served more than 52,000 people.

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PHCC mechatronics program keeps perfect pass rate over four years

PHCC mechatronics program keeps perfect pass rate over four years

MARTINSVILLE — For the fourth consecutive year, the entire industrial electronic technology cohort at Patrick Henry Community College passed the Level 1 Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program exam — a critical credential for job placement in that field. Together, the average score of the class was 82.9 percent.

“A 100 percent passing rate, especially with these high scores, is very impressive. This is an especially challenging certification exam that nationally only 85 percent of students pass,” said PHCC’s industrial electronic technology faculty member Daniel Edwards.

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Growing Gretna manufacturer adds jobs

Amthor International announced Monday that it will add 30 new positions to its company. Photo courtesy Amthor International.

Gretna's Amthor International announced Monday that it will add 30 employees to its first- and second-shift operation.

The truck manufacturing company, which employs approximately 100 workers, will establish a training program at the center Virginia Technical Institute called Amthor University. All interested applicants for the 30 openings will be sent through the program for off-site training.

"Everybody gets on-the-job training but not specifically in my building," Owner and Marketing Director Brian Amthor said. "I'm able to do off-site training and not affect my current production."

The training will take about four to five weeks, lasting anywhere from 160 to 200 hours. Sessions covering welding, electrical, tank mounting and tank maintenance will begin Oct. 5 at the Altavista training center. The four courses will be staggered in start times, resulting in hiring taking place in October through November.

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Coating machine seen as boon for NCI

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine was on hand to help unveil the new training equipment at the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing. Photo courtesy of CAFM.

A new machine installed at the New College Institute (NCI) should help Martinsville-Henry County keep high-tech companies and attract new ones by ensuring that people can learn advanced skills they will need to work for the firms, local industry representatives, educators and others said Thursday when the device was unveiled.

The academic coater is a one-of-a-kind, roughly $1 million machine to be used by the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing – a partnership of NCI, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and Eastman – mainly to train people for jobs with Eastman and other performance film manufacturers.

The Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing is a 28-credit program intended to teach people the skills they need to make performance films, such as ones installed on windows to block solar radiation, with computer-run equipment. But the coater could be used by other companies to teach skills common to all advanced manufacturers, NCI officials said.

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