$28 million center invests in manufacturing technology, industry partnerships to support Virginia’s competitive assets

Danville, VA (October 5, 2022) – The Center for Manufacturing Advancement (CMA), a statefunded project located on the campus of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), is open and ready to attract new businesses and jobs to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“As we strive to make Virginia the best place for veterans to live, work and raise a family, I am thrilled to announce the groundbreaking of our new IALR Center for Manufacturing Advancement in Danville,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “This partnership will diversify, transform and grow Southern Virginia’s production capability for the Submarine Industrial Base as well, marking another major win for Virginia’s defense economy and labor market.”

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin joined IALR and industry partners for a ribbon cutting to recognize the CMA as Virginia’s newest pro-business platform for developing manufacturing technologies that support business expansion in the region and skilled workforce development.

“The Institute of Advanced Learning and Research is a national model of an adaptive education system that delivers the skilled workforce that our business community and industries require today and for tomorrow,” said Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera. “It shows how a locally driven, state supported and federally shared Institute can quickly meet the needs of the business community and build the advanced manufacturing pipeline.”

The 51,250-square-foot facility is 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 DanvillePittsylvania 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.

The opening of the CMA took place during the second annual Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM) Summit where stakeholders convened on topics pertaining to closing skills and workforce gaps within the naval defense industrial base. United States Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, and other defense leaders, legislators, and industry groups addressed the challenges and opportunities for building a labor pool that supports emerging technologies for supplying the nation’s shipbuilding industry.

“The Center for Advanced Manufacturing will help close critical supply chain gaps and accelerate defense manufacturing. It will enable partners to move and adapt at the speed of technology, and directly complements the ATDM program,” said Craig Crenshaw Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs. “ATDM is a great opportunity for our Veterans who are supremely suited to the culture and competencies of defense manufacturing. They provide an immediate connection to the mission.” The United States Navy will be the first project partner locating in the CMA, selecting two of the high bays as part of a new center of excellence they announced at the ATDM Summit.

“This investment of $28.8 million is a huge win for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research as well as Danville and Pittsylvania County. Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and IALR continues to create new opportunities for students in Southside Virginia,” said Virginia Senator Bill Stanley. “I would like to thank Governor Youngkin for his work in this project as we ensure that Southside and Southwest Virginia is the best place to live, work, and to raise a family.”


See the full press release here