The Virginia Economic Developers Association today presented its 2018 Community Economic Development Award to the Danville Office of Economic Development for the regional effort to establish a precision machining program.
The program, which provides students with an opportunity to become certified metal workers and metrologists, was a collaborative effort of the City of Danville; Pittsylvania County; the public schools in both the City and the County; Danville Community College; Danville Regional Foundation; the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research; and the Gene Haas Foundation.
“All of us have worked together to create an extraordinary workforce solution for precision manufacturing,” said Telly Tucker, director of economic development for the City of Danville. “Workforce development is one of the most critically important elements of economic development, and this award recognizes the regional collaborative approach we have in place.”
Dr. Bruce Scism, president of Danville Community College, said this recognition attests to the potential to change a region’s fortunes when public and private institutions and organization work together.
“The award values the importance of a highly trained, modern workforce at a scale sufficient to make a manufacturing project successful,” Scism said. “It is truly a testament that advances can be achieved with the vision and dedicated leadership of a team of persons working to reach a common goal.”
The precision machining program is unique in the entire nation. Students can complete the studies required to achieve Level 3 NIMS certification within two years of finishing high school and incur total college expenses of approximately $6,000. These graduates are able to get jobs that yield wages of $65,000 to $80,000 per year. Companies are coming to the Danville region with repetitive success to take advantage of these skilled workers.
The award was presented at the Virginia Economic Developers Association’s spring conference held in Richmond.