GO Virginia Region One Council Recommend Two Regional Projects for Funding

The GO Virginia Region One Council met on October 2, 2018 at Appalachian School of Law and approved recommendations of two project proposals for Per Capita grant funding totaling $225,000.

Virginia Tech’s enhanced capacity building proposal for a Coal to Graphene Market Study will partner with localities in Region One to analyze the market of a coal to graphene industry in Southwest Virginia.  Virginia Tech’s Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science has developed and completed an initial invention disclosure on a method for manufacturing graphene from coal. They are working with EnviraCarbon on scaling up this production process for industrial use. As a risk reduction measure, Virginia Tech will hire a consultant to perform a market study, assessing the current and future graphene sector and the potential for Southwest Virginia to garner a significant portion of that market. In addition, Virginia Tech will be assessing the regional environmental benefits and impacts of manufacturing graphene from coal.

Virginia Highlands Community College is proposing a multi-locality partnership to construct a new 25,000 square-foot Advanced Technology and Workforce Development Center adjacent to the College’s campus in Abingdon to provide technical training and industry credentials in a number of fields in demand among advanced manufacturers in Region One. The new facility, with state of the art classroom and laboratory space, will consolidate existing off-campus technical programs, as well as new short term credential programs to allow for expansion in training capacity, increasing credentials awarded and creating new jobs in the region.

 “The Council was supportive of both projects and recognize their potential economic impact for the region,” said Mike Quillen, chair of the Region One Council. “One has the potential to develop an industry with substantial long term economic impact, while the other could positively impact the training infrastructure, meeting the demand of regional employers.”

The Region One Council was pleased to learn of other initiatives in the region as well, including The Bristol Resort and Casino. The Council agreed to endorse the proposed project given the economic benefits and opportunities associated with the initiative. However, no GO Virginia funds will be utilized for the project.

The Coal to Graphene Market Study will be submitted to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the support organization for the GO Virginia State Board, for evaluation and administrative approval. The Advanced Technology and Workforce Development Center proposal will undergo evaluation by DHCD and will be submitted to the GO Virginia State Board for review at their December 11 meeting.

The GO Virginia Region One Council accepts applications for Per Capita Grant funding on a rolling basis. The next deadline for applications to be considered by the Region One Council is November 5, 2018. For more information, visit the Region One website at www.goswva.org or contact Robyn Lee at rlee@uvawise.edu.