(Wise, VA) October 1, 2020 – The GO Virginia State Board approved Per Capita applications for Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority, United Way of Southwest Virginia, and William King Museum of Art on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.
The Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority’s (LPRIFA) Project Intersection application, approved at $485,000 will assist in developing and repurposing a former 188-acre mine site in Norton, VA. The site, located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 58 & 23, will provide four site-ready pad locations to include associated infrastructure, site-work, access roads, and amenities. The project will allow the site to be recertified from Tier II to Tier III per the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
The LPRIFA is partnering with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME), Division of Mined Land Reclamation, Dickenson County Board of Supervisors, Lee County Board of Supervisors, City of Norton, Scott County Board of Supervisors, and Wise County Board of Supervisors for Project Intersection.
Through the two-year life of the project, LPRIFA anticipates that with the completion of Site #4 there will be 100 new jobs created during the first year of completion and occupation in 2023 with 500 jobs being created at the conclusion of year five in 2028.
“We are pleased that GO Virginia recognized the collaborative efforts of the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority relating to Project Intersection. The authority is composed of the counties of Lee, Dickenson, Scott, and Wise and the City of Norton. The establishment of Project Intersection will provide for the diversification of the economy of far Southwest Virginia and assist in creating critical jobs for the region,” said Craig Seaver, Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority Coordinator.
According to Duane Miller, Executive Director of the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission and GO Virginia Region One Council member, “LENOWISCO is happy to see the GO VA award for Project Intersection to the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority. Project Intersection is a great example of localities working together to foster economic growth for our entire region. This is certainly an example of being strong as a whole instead of as individual pieces.”
United Way of Southwest Virginia’s (UWSWVA) Ignite Tech Talent Pipeline application, approved at $251,960 will build upon the success of the Ignite Internship program by working with partners to develop a talent pipeline that increases the number of graduates from high school, community college, and four-year colleges ready to work in information technology jobs in the region to meet the forecasted ten-year demand for talent in Region 1.
United Way anticipates assessing capacity of schools and higher education and baselining data on dual enrollment, educational pathways from schools to higher education careers, IT graduates and student interest in IT careers. UWSWVA will also baseline current employer activities, including internships and demand for specific skills, certifications and degrees for entry level positions. A regional assessment report will be developed and shared to evaluate alignment of education curriculums available in Southwest Virginia with employer demand. There will be a guiding coalition that will provide input based on the assessment report that will be used to establish goals and targets for the implementation phase of the project. Phase I of the project will also build interest and awareness of IT careers with students, teachers, and employers. Awareness and engagement will be achieved with strong coordination, outreach, and communication.
UWSWVA is collaborating with Code VA, New River Mount Rogers Workforce Development Board, Major Clarity, Region 7 Superintendents Association, Virginia Highlands Community College, Mountain Empire Community College, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Bristol City Schools, Wise County Schools, and additional school systems throughout the region.
“United Way of Southwest Virginia is partnering to provide the emerging workforce with the needed support. The growth of the technology sector is vitally important to the long-term success of our region and Commonwealth,” said Travis Staton, President and CEO of United Way of Southwest Virginia.
Josh Lewis, Executive Director of Virginia’s Industrial Advancement Alliance and GO Virginia Region One Council member commented, “It is no secret that SWVA lacks a density of information technology, programming, and other computer science related skills needed to fulfill current demand, or attract the industries of the future. While there is a multitude of program and efforts focused on reskilling and retraining adults in an attempt to close the gap, ultimately it will be the ability of our region to create an eco-system that produces these skills through our K-12 and higher education systems. Implementing a fluid and connected STEM pathway program that engages our students throughout the secondary and post-secondary education system is what the Ignite Tech Talent program is designed to accomplish. Our future prosperity will be determined by this program’s success.”
William King Museum of Art’s (WKMA) Digital Workforce Development application, approved at $70,910 will fill a regional training gap by developing a Digital Art Laboratory to provide a novel approach to digital design training allowing students to receive training and testing for certification as Adobe Certified Associates in Adobe Creative Software. Students will have access to learn on the most current designer software and 3-D prototyping equipment available, making their skills more valuable to companies.
WKMA is partnering with Washington County, Smyth County and the Town of Abingdon to successfully launch the Digital Workforce Development project.
Through the two-year life of the project, WKMA plans to hire a digital lab technician, conduct six cohorts of Adobe classes, expand programming to other Region 1 localities, implement computer-aided design (CAD), train 180 students in Adobe with 90 students achieving the ACA credential by year three.
“William King Museum of Art is deeply grateful for this grant, which will enable the museum to move forward in the implementation of creative technology training through our new Digital Lab. We are thrilled to be part of Southwest Virginia’s workforce development and hope to provide a new and exciting aspect of economic development of higher education and adult audiences,” said Betsy K. White, Director of William King Museum of Art.
According to Mark Eschle, Vice-President of Operations at Wize Solutions and GO Virginia Region One Council member, “Digital design is an exciting and competitive field and Adobe is clearly a leader in digital design software. This grant will allow William King Museum of Art to extend the capabilities for its innovative digital arts lab, providing hundreds of students across SWVA the opportunity to acquire the industry recognized ACA certification – something that until now has been unavailable in our region.”
These projects were funded in part by GO Virginia, a state-funded initiative that strengthens and diversifies Virginia’s economy and fosters the creation of higher wage jobs in strategic industries.
ABOUT GO VIRGINIA REGION ONE
The Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity (GO Virginia) is a bipartisan, business-led economic development initiative that is changing the way Virginia’s diverse regions collaborate on economic and workforce development activities. The GO Virginia initiative is to promote the creation of high wage careers, private-sector job growth, and diversification across the Commonwealth through incentivized regional collaboration.
GO Virginia Region One represents thirteen counties and three cities in Southwest Virginia; including the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, and the Cities of Bristol, Galax, and Norton.
For more information about GO Virginia Region One, visit https://www.goswva.org/.
ABOUT LONESOME PINE REGIONAL INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES AUTHORITY
Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority (LPRIFA) is a multi-jurisdictional organization that was officially established in 2019. The LPRIFA provides an economic development model that allows communities to pool their resources to invest and build a new economy for Southwest Virginia. LPRIFA’s model allows localities to share in the revenues realized from investments and strives to create employment opportunities.
LPRIFA encompasses the Southwestern Virginia counties of Dickenson, Lee, Scott, and Wise and the City of Norton.
For more information about Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority, visit http://www.lenowisco.org/lonesome-pine-rifa.html.
ABOUT UNITED WAY OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
United Way of Southwest Virginia (UWSWVA) fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia. Through an initiative-based cradle-to-career approach, United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce. Through collaboration with government, business, nonprofit and individuals, United Way innovates for positive, lasting social change.
UWSWVA programs and initiatives serve the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, and the Cities of Bristol, Galax, Norton, and Radford.
For more information about United Way of Southwest Virginia, visit https://unitedwayswva.org/.
ABOUT WILLIAM KING MUSEUM OF ART
In 1922, the William King Museum of Art (WKMA) opened its doors to the Southwest Virginia community. In 2004, the WKMA was accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is still Virginia’s only nationally accredited museum west of Roanoke.
William King Museum of Art is a virtual arts and cultural heritage museum serving residents of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee as well as visitors to the area. The museum’s mission is to provide arts, education, exhibit fine art, and preserve the region’s cultural heritage. WKMA has a vision to be the leading visual art and cultural heritage museum in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee and to expand their service into eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia and western North Carolina. To achieve this goal, they work to become a leading facilitator of creative workforce development; promote adult enrichment through art, including continuously delivering exhibitions, classes, lectures, and workshops; and take a leading role in delivering and promoting arts education as an essential element of childhood development.
For more information about William King Museum of Art, visit https://www.williamkingmuseum.org/