SVHEC, New College Institute to open manufacturing Centers of Excellence

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The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification & Community Revitalization Commission has named the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) in South Boston as one of two manufacturing Centers of Excellence  in Southern Virginia.  The other will be at the New College Institute in Martinsville. The tobacco commission will provide $2 million in initial funding to each of the centers.

Establishing regional  excellence centers comes in response to a 2012 report by Boston Consulting Group that found the tobacco region has the opportunity to develop an advanced manufacturing hub focused on aerospace, automotive, and heavy machinery. The consulting group estimates there will be an additional 6,840 job openings in manufacturing by the year 2017. To meet that demand, the region needs to train 1,045 medium skilled workers, with welders, machinists, and industrial maintenance mechanics being in the greatest demand.

The center at SVHEC, expected to open in fiscal year 2016, will provide advanced and specialty hands-on training in welding, precision machining, and industrial maintenance. Individuals completing this training will earn nationally recognized industry-specific credentials and certifications.

“The specialty training that will be provided at the Center of Excellence is not currently provided anywhere in the state,” Betty Adams, executive director of the SVHEC said in a statement. “We are breaking new ground that advances our region's economic potential by equipping the workforce with high demand advanced technology skills.”

The SVHEC will focus on industrial maintenance training, Danville Community College will provide precision machining training, and Southside Virginia Community College will focus on welding training. The center will serve 11 counties stretching from Pittsylvania County in the west to Buckingham and Greenville in the north and east. 

The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission aims to promote economic growth and development in tobacco-dependent communities, using proceeds of the national tobacco settlement.

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