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Today Is The Start Of Something Big For Danville As Economic Development Program With The US Navy Is Announced – Mike Swanson

This is a big day for Danville, Virginia and the entire region as the US Navy announced an economic development project with the Center for Advanced Manufacturing of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). The announcement capped a three part event at the IALR, which began with Governor Youngkin speaking about $28 million in funds for the CMA. After he spoke, the Secretary of the Navy gave a presentation by remote video, and then at noon a manpower leader of the Navy spoke along with Vic Ingram, Chairman of the Pittyslvania County Board of Supervisors and of the Regional Industrial Facility, and Alonzo Jones, the Mayor of Danville. The details of how many jobs will ultimately come out of this were not revealed, but this is much bigger than what it may appear – in fact this announcement is likely to prove to be as important to the area as the coming Ceasars Virginia casino will be.

Last year, after some defense leaders and Senator Warner, spoke at the IALR, I speculated that over 1,000 defense jobs may end up one day being created in the Berry Hill Mega Park as a big satellite manufacturing area for the construction of the next generation of navy submarines. This announcement today is the first step in a big defense initiative involving the construction of the next fleet of submarines. In 2011 only one was built, and now the US Navy is planning to ramp up production so that five a year are made by 2026. The United States doesn’t have the manufacturing workforce to do that. In fact the industrial work force of the US has shrunk by 1/3 since 1980. It will take over 180,000 new workers in the next ten years to hit the mark needed by the US Navy’s construction demands. These people are not going to be all in none place, as manufacturing for programs this big are spread out regionally and even nationally, but Danville is now positioned with the IALR and the announcement today about the CMA to be a major focal point in training people for these types of jobs.

Today, during the ribbon cutting of ceremony, “the announcement was also made that the ATDM program, which aims to provide 800-1,000 qualified candidates to fill critical vacancies in the DIB annually by 2024, will expand with the creation of a regional training facility adjacent to the CMA. The multi-million-dollar investment into over 100,000 square feet of dedicated training capability,capacity, and infrastructure will enable ATDM to rapidly scale up to its full potential and add to the economic momentum in Southern Virginia. The Danville and Pittsylvania County Regional Industrial Facility Authority provided land for the initiative.”

“There will be lots of people coming here and coming here for training and that provides an overall nucleus for workforce,” Youngkin said. “I expect will begin to see companies come here at a more rapid pace because they want to be close to the training, and we’ve already seen companies like Morgan Olson choose to be in Danville because of this great workforce and I think we’re going to see that accelerate.”

Now time will tell how much of the actual manufacturing takes place in this area. I do not have the secret information on that. My guess is people somewhere in this area will be building things like ship hulls and then sending them by rail to Newport news. These submarines are massive in size and components are built in various facilities and then sent to one spot where they are put together. The components are high tech. It’s like building a spaceship that operates underwater. And the ones that carry missiles shoot rockets that go into the outer limits of the atmosphere.

What we know, from today’s press release for this event, is that the CMA is a 51,250-square-foot facility, with a $28.8 million investment to promote collaboration among technology leaders and to provide state-of-the-art space for industry partners to optimize their operations and scale. Both existing manufacturers in the region looking to expand and manufacturers looking to enter Southern Virginia with a new site location will benefit. The CMA will help these companies improve quality and innovate technologies that aid economic and manufacturing competitiveness.

“The advancements that are to come out of the Center for Manufacturing Advancement will have significant implications for developing the processes that support manufacturing expansion, as well as the workforce needed to support that growth,” remarked Telly Tucker, President of IALR.

“Today’s manufacturing and workforce challenges require comprehensive and innovative approaches to the way industry collaborates, along with significant investments in infrastructure, equipment and people. The CMA fosters each of these obligations in a way that will benefit the region, the Commonwealth, and the country.”

Funded largely by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the CMA was built in cooperation with Virginia’s Division of Engineering and Buildings with financial incentives provided by the Economic Development Administration, IALR and the IALR Foundation, and the Danville Regional Foundation. The CMA and IALR campus resides on land owned by the Danville- Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority.

“The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors has strategically and successfully targeted advanced manufacturing as a major component of our economic development efforts,” said Vic Ingram, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and the Regional Industrial Facility Authority
(RIFA).

“We are so excited to see the positive impact the Center for Manufacturing Advancement has on Danville and Pittsylvania County’s recruitment of new advanced manufacturing companies. I am confident this facility will greatly benefit Pittsylvania County, the City of Danville, and our entire region.”

“The opening of this center is the next big step for our city and region in our effort to become an advanced manufacturing hub and further transform the community in which we live,” said City of Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones. “By providing manufacturers with everything they need to launch and grow, the center will be an important economic development tool. It will grow the portfolio of companies that decide to call our community home, and provide new job opportunities for our citizens. We are a proud partner in this effort.”

The two-story CMA features:

• rapid-launch facilities that will enable new businesses to begin limited operations off-site during what is traditionally the initial downtime as new businesses wait for their factory to be constructed and equipped to support full operations;
• an ISO-certified inspection lab that will provide integrated inspection capabilities required to validate product quality. This service will reduce the start-up phase for a new company by 4 to 6 months, the time required to certify an inspection lab;
• process improvement labs that will enable new and existing businesses to improve their processes in a more expeditious manner, thereby ensuring global competitiveness;
• an industry 4.0 integration and training lab that will support next-generation manufacturing requirements
• a platform for collaborative innovation that allows manufacturing companies, technology companies and engineering students to work together to discover, integrate and showcase emerging technology; and
• concierge service that provides the wrap-around support needed by companies new to the U.S. during their critical start-up phase.

You can see the noon speeches ahead of the ribbon cutting for the US Navy program at the CMA in this video.

-Mike