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.
A longstanding corporate citizen of Chatham, Eastern Panel Manufacturing Inc. is investing $1 million to expand its manufacturing operations. The custom plywood manufacturer recently moved from its former 30,000-square-foot site to a 55,000-square-foot facility in the Chatham Industrial Park.
Matt Rowe, Pittsylvania County’s director of economic development, knew Eastern Panel was in growth mode. He contacted the company’s president, Keith Van Asch, as soon as he learned it was looking for a new facility.
“I knew the company was testing the water to see how the market was building product-wise. They were looking at numerous options,” Rowe says. “I wanted to show him what kind of building product we had. He liked what we put together.”
Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital was recently named one of the Top 100 Rural and Community Hospitals in the United States by iVantage Health Analytics and The Chartis Center for Rural Health.
“This achievement is very gratifying and validates our daily commitment to providing the highest level of quality health care possible to our community, while maintaining an efficiently operated facility,” said Chris Lumsden, President and Administrator of Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital.
Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital scored in the top 100 of rural and community hospitals on iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®. The INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive rating of rural providers. It provides the data foundation for the annual Rural Relevance Study and its results are the basis for many of rural healthcare’s most prominent awards, advocacy efforts and legislative initiatives. The Top 100 Rural and Community Hospitals play a key role in providing a safety net to communities across America – and the INDEX measures them across eight pillars of hospital strength: Inpatient Market Share, Outpatient Market Share, Cost, Charge, Quality, Outcomes, Patient Perspectives, and Financial Stability.
Leland Melvin is the only person to have caught a football on the NFL field and in space. On Wednesday, he spent the day with Dan River region students at the 2018 Southern Virginia STEM-H summit at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville.
“This community is doing an amazing job inspiring a new generation of explorers,” Melvin said to the gathering. “I think the tech community here is bringing the students up to be the next blue-suited Virginians walking on the moon. I give all of you a round of applause.”
The Lynchburg native gave the keynote speech at a luncheon for students and at the Southern Piedmont Technology Council’s Innovation Stars Awards banquet that evening.
“We have to make sure that as we go on this journey that all of our kids can see themselves in this role,” Melvin said. “For the kids in here, you may be on one path and see some things that don’t look right, but know that that might be part of your journey.”
Governor Ralph Northam made a special announcement on the southside. A pharmaceutical company is creating dozens of new jobs in the area. "Panaceutics and Pittsylvania County that's got a good ring to it," said Governor Ralph Northam.
A $5.8 million investment, and 70 new jobs are coming to the Danville/Pittsylvania County area thanks to a company called Panaceutics. Panaceutics will operate its research and manufacturing facility in the Cane Creek Industrial Park.
"We make a product to personalize nutrition and medicine, where we take the active ingredients and then formulate it based on genetics, on your lab tests, on you age, sex, weight, factors like that," says Panaceutics co-founder Edison Hudson.
In short, these little pouches have vitamins and minerals, as well as any specific medications you may need, all in one.
A cancer science center honoring the memory of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who lived in Clover before her cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line, is on the way to become a reality in Halifax County, and on Wednesday Lacks’ legacy was honored from the floors of the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate.
The Henrietta Lacks Life Science Center currently is conceived to be a $50 million, 200,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art medical research and treatment facility, to be built in the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority’s Southern Virginia Technology Park (SVTP), a short drive from Henrietta Lacks’ Clover home and final resting place.
At the same time Wednesday, members of the Henrietta Lacks family and Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group were recognized by 20th District Senator William “Bill” Stanley and 60th District Delegate James Edmunds as part of efforts to bring to fruition the Henrietta Lacks Commission and Henrietta Lacks Life Science Center Project.
From the House floor, Edmunds described Lacks as “a Virginia hero, an African-American woman whose unique world-changing legacy has touched all of us, without most of us realizing it.”
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.”
Good news for Pittsylvania County: dozens of new jobs are coming to town.
Amthor International, which is a tanker truck manufacturer, has been in Gretna since 1992. Now, they will be expanding, adding 90 new jobs over the next five years, and much more.
"Amthor International, the largest tanker truck manufacturer in North America, is going to invest $7.1 million to expand its operations in Gretna, Virginia," announced Virginia's Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Todd Haymore.
Project Manager Dodie Hudson and Senior Architect Larry Hasson and River District Tower's Dr. Mark Hermann discuss the transformation of the Dan River Research Building, now known as the River District Tower.
Dodie Hudson: Dr. Hermann, the executive director of River District Tower and he's also a practicing physician with Spectrum Medical, he knew exactly what he wanted coming into this space.