RICHMOND—Governor Northam today announced more than $6.7 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) funding for seven regional projects. Key members of the Governor’s cabinet, the General Assembly, and the business community approved the GO Virginia grant funding for projects across the Commonwealth. These grants are for projects each region identified as vital to their efforts to diversify the regional economy, strengthen their workforce, and support collaborative programs between localities, public entities, and private businesses.
“GO Virginia continues to promote innovative partnerships between businesses, local governments, and educational institutions to expand and diversify regional economies and help reach our shared economic goals,” said Governor Northam. “These seven projects will build upon the momentum we are seeing throughout the Commonwealth to develop the talent, sites, and new businesses that make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”
The GO Virginia grants will be used to implement projects that align with each region’s Growth and Diversification Plans. These plans provide an honest assessment of the economic, workforce, and structural barriers in the region, as well as the existing regional economic drivers and potential growth sectors in each region. Projects that address these challenges and opportunities are a key step toward the creation of higher-paying jobs in the regions.
“Through GO Virginia, we are supporting creative opportunities to assist our regions with providing the training and tools needed to diversify and strengthen our economy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The programs we are funding will continue to support the regional priorities identified by each region and work towards creating higher-paying jobs in priority areas.”
The regional per capita grants are awarded based on recommendations from the GO Virginia Regional Councils for projects that support regional collaboration and the Growth and Diversification Plans. The competitive grants are also recommended by Regional Councils and then awarded through a statewide competitive process for projects that are multi-regional in scope or represent an extraordinary opportunity to the Commonwealth. The GO Virginia Board is responsible for giving final approval for these grants awarded through the GO Virginia program.
The GO Virginia Board approved seven projects, which will leverage at least $7,216,462 in non-state sources to assist with economic diversification throughout Virginia, including $3,530,281 of local government resources toward the seven projects.
2019 Round One Regional Grant Awards
GO Virginia Region (and localities within region involved in project award)
Region 1: Wise, Lee and Scott counties
Smart Farming at the Center for Workforce and Innovation of Appalachia
$310,372 (Per Capita)
Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) will leverage existing federal funding to expand the unmanned systems coursework with two new capstone courses on smart farming and the use of technology to improve farming techniques, increase yields, and maximize agricultural profits. MECC will offer students hands-on drone training and the ability to earn national credentials for FAA drone operations, agricultural inspections, and pesticide spraying at the new Center for Workforce and Innovation of Appalachia (CWIA). The additional courses will allow MECC to offer the first Unmanned Aerial Systems Associates Degree (AAS) in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).
Region 2: Alleghany, Botetourt, and Roanoke counties, and the towns of Bedford and Vinton
Increasing the Birth Rates of New High Growth Companies for Region Two
$150,000 (Per Capita)
The Advancement Foundation (TAF) is starting a new program designed to increase the number of high-growth companies by aligning regional assets, accelerating proof of concept, offering comprehensive technical support, and growing a culture of innovation by actively engaging industry experts, STEM practitioners, and student investors.
Region 5: Cities of Hampton, Norfolk and Virginia Beach
757 Angel Network
$240,000 (Per Capita)
757 Angels will expand their efforts to connect the most promising startup and early stage companies to smart growth capital. Funding will expand the organization’s efforts in Region Five. 757 Angels is the first centralized source of angel and seed-stage capital in Hampton Roads, with 120 members and $40 million deployed in Virginia companies to date.
Region 6: King George and Stafford counties, and the city of Fredericksburg
Cybersecurity Certification Program
$110,000 (Per Capita)
University of Mary Washington (UMW) will establish a cybersecurity preparatory program to train Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP). By contributing to the critical mass of certified cyber professionals, UMW will help businesses fill current openings due to the inadequate supply of certified professionals. In partnerships with Germanna Community College (GCC) and Rappahannock Community College (RCC), UMW will implement a 40-hour certification program, as well as a structured pre-study curriculum, both of which will benefit from new local study groups, live trainings, and online resources.
Region 8: Clarke County and the city of Winchester
Shihadeh Innovation Center for Career and Technical Education
$540,000 (Per Capita)
Winchester Public Schools (WPS) will renovate the former John Kerr Elementary School in partnership with Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC). Curriculum at the new facility will be offered through a Professional Skills Academy, a Health Sciences Academy, and an Information Technology Academy. These academies will be supported by an expanded work-based learning (WBL) program to connect students to regional businesses filling high-wage jobs in the targeted clusters.
Region 9: Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville
Catalyst Accelerator Program
$475,200 (Per Capita)
The Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Virginia’s (UVA) Darden School of Business will create the Catalyst Accelerator Program to fill an existing gap in the local ecosystem by providing the dedicated staff, workspace, programming, mentorship, and grant funding to support up to 20 high-potential companies. The catalyst will offer a portfolio of programming and network events, as well as internship and project-based learning opportunities for UVA students.
Region 3: Cumberland, Greensville, Halifax. Henry, Mecklenburg, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, and Nottoway counties, and the cities of Danville and Martinsville
Region 1: Bland, Carroll, and Grayson counties, and the city of Galax
Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Courses (GO-TEC) Phase II
$4,896,528 awarded with
$1,320,787 in initial funding(Competitive)
Danville Community College (DCC) will work with a regional school and higher-education partners to build a regional training system of scale to build a pipeline of talent beginning with middle school students, in order to increase the number of students entering the five regional training areas of need: precision machining, welding, IT/cybersecurity, robotics/mechatronics, and advanced materials. This project was awarded full funding with the contingency that a scaled approach be initially funded and validated after 12 months before receiving the full award.
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