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GO Virginia Funded Projects

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Stopping the Brain Drain Strategy Development (Enhanced Capacity Building) works through the Roanoke Regional Partnership (RRP) to develop a complete talent attraction and retention program for the GO Virginia Region 2 service area. The project will examine the challenges of attracting talent from the 25 colleges and universities in the region and retaining young professionals. The project will also investigate challenges faced by regional employers in recruiting talent and other concerns in developing talent-focused programs of work. The Region 2 service area has a wealth of available talent for a variety of different fields but fails to keep many in the region post-graduation. There is, however, little data or information on why this challenge exists. Stopping the Brain Drain seeks to overcome the gap and create a Talent Action Coalition that will serve as an action platform in the implementation of retaining talent in the region.

For more information, please contact: Erin Burcham,

Brain Drain Poster
Project completed FY20Q1

GO Virginia Region 2 Talent Collaborative serves the entire GO Virginia Region 2 service region and works to stimulate the region’s economic growth by closing the skill and interest gap in middle-to-high skilled occupations in Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Information Technology. The Talent Collaborative works to create an existing worker-training program that helps priority industries further develop their talent to remain competitive. Furthermore, the Talent Collaborative will create a Region 2 High Demand Career Pathway Educational Campaign to address the interest gap in hard-to-fill, technical occupation across the priority industry clusters, identified in the Growth and Diversification Plan, to develop a sustainable career pathway system for regional jobs. Ultimately, the project will result in increased wages for employees and productivity/profits for employers.

For more information, please contact: Ben Bowman,

Talent Collaborative Poster
Metrics updated for FY20Q4

Enhancing the Region through New Technology for Unmanned Systems works with Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (DSLCC) to build a unique and innovative partnership in the DSLCC Service Region and seeks funding in a new drone technology program to meet the needs of the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone. The project creates 18 high-wage jobs and attract three to five new businesses to the area. The project focuses on exhibiting pathways to middle and high school students in the region, so students become aware there are a growing number of interesting, challenging, and rewarding jobs available and what the foundational knowledge and skill sets needed to perform these jobs are in the region. Funds are used to purchase and roll out drone technology training courses to develop the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone program to train students for potential employers.

For more information, please contact: Dr. John Rainone,

Drone Zone Poster
Project completed FY20Q3

Regional Career and Technical Education Study through The Western Virginia Workforce Development Board will increase the availability and alignment of CTE programs in the region. The study would evaluate previously completed studies of CTE programs, evaluate existing conditions for CTE centers and programs, and recommend next steps to improve CTE programs in the region.

For more information, please contact: Morgan Romeo,

CTE Study Poster
Project completed FY20Q3

Ignite through The United Way of Southwest Virginia (UWSWVA) will expand their efforts in GO Virginia Region 1 to GO Virginia Region 2 with a goal to facilitate regional collaboration between schools and employers to equip and retain the next generation of the local workforce. Through a collaborative effort between K-12 and industry, the program will focus on creating industry experience opportunities and enhanced occupational awareness.

For more information, please contact: Leann Vernon,

Ignite Poster
Metrics updated for FY20Q3

Developing a Destination for Talent will connect an untapped pool of Virginia Tech undergraduates to regional employers seeking to find and retain talent and will provide faculty members with networking opportunities. Project activities will include the creation of paid internships to build a talent pipeline from VT to regional companies. The Office of the Vice Provost for Learning Systems Innovation and Effectiveness, inclusive of the Career and Professional Development Office, will coordinate with local businesses to share student internship opportunities and provide students with appropriate training materials and general work etiquette needed to succeed in the workforce. The project will benefit Region 2 by highlighting current job opportunities, offering additional intern slots, and reducing hiring and training costs for the surrounding communities. Virginia Tech has created nine Destination Areas which align with the GO Virginia Region 2’s target industries. These activities build on the new approaches to internships identified in the “Stopping the Brain Drain” project.

For more information, please contact: Catherine Amelink,

Developing a Destination for Talent
Metrics updated for FY20Q4

Blockchain Ecosystem Catalyst (BEC) is a collaboration of the Virginia Tech Department of Computer Science, Office of the Vice President of Research and Innovation, and Continuing and Professional Education with partners including the Virginia Tech Foundation and Valleys Innovation Council. Project activities will include addressing current talent needs for mid-career professionals by providing seminars, short courses, and training events that would ultimately lead to blockchain certifications. Additionally, the project will develop curriculum and courseware resources for current in-degree students at Virginia Tech, develop an industry focused blockchain resource portal to support startups and other companies looking to implement blockchain technology, and sponsor industry seminars targeting regional companies to share how blockchain can be used in various fields. BEC addresses three GO Virginia strategic focus areas: technology development, talent development, and entrepreneurship and business development.

For more information, please contact: Kirk Cameron,

Blockchain Poster
Metrics updated for FY20Q4

Workforce Training and Regional Capacity for Rapid High Throughput COVID-19 Testing offers testing for symptomatic COVID-19 patients and provides wide-scale surveillance testing to assist in helping employees return to the workforce safely. Testing is completed at two laboratory sites, the Fralin Life Sciences Institute (FLSI) in Blacksburg and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute (FBRI) in Roanoke. Along with supplying this need, this project has created a training program that adds skilled workers to the region who can compete for high paying jobs in the health care technical laboratory testing space.

For more information, please contact: Michael Friedlander,

Workforce Training and COVID-19 Testing
Metrics updated for FY20Q4


Capital Ecosystem Development (Enhanced Capacity Building) examines the Region 2 capital ecosystem to understand the current landscape and find ways to strengthen formal pathways to capital for businesses and entrepreneurs. The project will create a Capital Landscape Study to understand and describe the various sources of capital in the region through surveys and interviews with entrepreneurs and investors in the region. Through this study, analysis will determine a capital access plan that would be most effective for Region 2 to connect businesses and entrepreneurs with investors throughout the region.

For more information, please contact: Meredith Hundley,

Capital Ecosystem Development
Project completed FY20Q3

Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP) Expansion works with the City of Roanoke, Virginia Western Community College, and the RBTC to assist technology-based startups with access to classroom education, mentoring, and assistance in identifying capital. RAMP has previously supported one cohort through the program and current funds will help build a diverse mentor network, provide mentors and entrepreneurs with education and tools to help grow and develop, and build a pipeline of companies who wish to apply to RAMP, the region’s only accelerator program. Through Pitch-and-Polish clinics, pairing mentors and startups, and beginning a second RAMP cohort, RAMP will strengthen the job and resource network in Region 2.

For more information, please contact: Mary Miller,

Ramp poster
Project completed FY20Q3

Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will provide small business counseling, training, and business resources to the New River Valley region (counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski, and City of Radford), and deliver new programs and services that are tailored to the specific needs of New River Valley small businesses and Region 2 GOVA strategies. The project provides the resources to dedicate a full-time Business Advisor to serve the New River Valley exclusively, greatly increasing the time and effort the Roanoke Regional SBDC can devote to serving New River Valley businesses, and rebuilding the relationships between New River Valley communities and the SBDC network.

For more information, please contact Amanda Forrester,

SBDC Poster
Project completed FY20Q3

Increasing the Birth Rates of New High Growth Companies for Region 2 through The Advancement Foundation (TAF) focuses on leveraging business resources, entrepreneur resource partners, industry experts, and partners to increase business readiness and success rate for new high growth companies. The goal of this project is to define and expand the region’s entrepreneurial pipeline for new and early stage companies.

For more information, please contact Annette Patterson,

TAF Poster
Project completed FY20Q3

Regional Entrepreneurship Initiative (Valleys Innovation Council) will create a regional entrepreneurial investment plan focused on supporting innovation-based/high-growth entrepreneurship. The Valleys Innovation Council will facilitate coalitions, track regional progress, strategize with I+E stakeholders in each market to create three sub-regional and one cross-regional I+E investment plan, and help build capacity for regional ecosystems to implement ecosystem programming and activities.

For more information, please contact Meredith Hundley,

Regional Entrepreneurship Initiative
Metrics updated for FY20Q4

The NRV Business Continuity Team assists in mitigating the economic impacts of COVID by providing cost efficient resolution of problems for businesses and by instilling confidence in consumers and employees.  This confidence will be developed by providing an immediate coordinated response to outbreaks, consistent public messaging, education, and the development of best practices throughout the region.  All of these will help to stabilize the region’s overall economy through the coming months.

For more information, please contact: Kevin Byrd,

NRV Business Continuity Team
Metrics updated for FY20Q4

Increasing the Birth Rates of New High Growth Companies Phase 2, through the Advancement Foundation, will continue to assist new high growth companies, increasing the density of startups with a focus on advanced manufacturing, food and beverage, technology, and health and life sciences. The project will engage industry experts, STEM practitioners, and university students, brand the region as a high growth startup community, and provide comprehensive technical support. 

For more information, please contact: Annette Patterson,

The Advancement Foundation Part 2
Metrics updated for FY20Q4

PIVOT and RAMP Up, an extension of the Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP)  will work to meet the changing needs of startups and entrepreneurs given social distancing requirements and the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. This pivot consists of a robust content management system, the development of an online mentor support network, and a new “Exit RAMP” program providing ongoing business assistance and connections to resources for RAMP alumni. 

For more information, please contact: Mary Miller,

Metrics updated for FY20Q4

The Public Health Readiness Evaluation (PHRE) tool is an easy-to-use mobile application designed to help smaller organizations quickly assess and optimize their readiness to operate with minimal risk to workers, customers/patrons, and surrounding communities. The tool will be adapted from a safety framework originally developed for small nanotechnology businesses, and will include in-kind efforts from leading risk scientists and mobile application developers.

For more information, please contact: Matthew Hull,

PHRE Mobile App
Metrics updated for FY20Q4

The Roanoke Regional Recovery Project will engage regional companies in advanced manufacturing, food and beverage, technology, and healthcare. A recovery coalition will provide advising as well as recovery-focused resources and programming. Round table sessions that share workforce and financial stability best practices will involve regional companies in the recovery process and help encourage business leaders to create a support network for resource-sharing.

For more information, please contact: Beth Doughty,

Roanoke Regional Recovery Project
Metrics updated for FY20Q4

Experiential Learning in Tech Employment (ELITE) Internship Program will be led by the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), in partnership with professional internship organizations. This program will offer internship opportunities for students earning a software developer degree at a regional four-year university, allowing them to gain valuable professional experience. 

For more information, please contact: John Phillips,

Sites and Buildings

Wood Haven Road Water and Sewer Infrastructure Enhancement works through the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority (WVRIFA) to improve site readiness and marketability by making the water and sewer utility connections to the site ready for use. Prior to receiving funds, the site, jointly owned by the County of Roanoke and the Cities of Roanoke and Salem through the WVRIFA, was unable to be developed and did not attract businesses to the area. Through the project, the site will be propelled to a Tier 4 readiness standard through the Virginia Businesses Ready Sites Program. The project seeks to attract new businesses to the region through site preparedness.

For more information, please contact: Beth Doughty or John Hull, or

Wood Haven Poster
Project completed FY20Q3

Center for Energy Research and Education (CERE) Industry Labs works with Liberty University and Framatome (AREVA Inc.) to create four industry labs including: Chemical/Material Lab, EMC Lab, Calibration Lab, and a Non-Destructive Testing Lab through site preparedness on a 28-acre lot in Bedford, VA. Through developing the land and establishing the labs, the region will be able to attract and build industry support for leading innovations and attract high-growth energy companies to the region.

For more information, please contact: Rich Diddams,

CERE Poster
Metrics updated for FY20Q4

Additive Manufacturing Partnership Labs (AMPL) is a collaborative effort between Liberty University (LU), The Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER), Central Virginia Community College (CVCC), the XLR8 STEM Academy, local partners BWX Technologies, FarField NDT, and Bedford County to support the collective goal of building the Additive Manufacturing (AM) base and educating the AM workforce. GO Virginia funding will purchase the AM equipment needed to establish the lab. LU will outfit the AM laboratory with: two Markforged Metal X 3D Printers, one Markforged X7 3D Printer, one Geomagic Capture Scanner, and smaller 3D printers in support of the STEM Academy. The 2,400 square-foot facility will include several AM systems capable of full consolidation of nylon, carbon fiber, polymeric, metallic, and ceramic material systems, as well as a prototyping laboratory which includes a host of characterization techniques.

For more information, please contact: Rich Diddams,

AMPL Poster
Metrics updated for FY20Q4

Lynchburg Site Readiness advanced a portfolio of six existing commercial/industrial sites along the site readiness scale and clarified next steps for moving all sites to at least Tier III on the Virginia Business Site Readiness Scale (VBRSP). 

For more information, please contact: Megan Lucas,

Lynchburg Site Readiness Poster
Project completed FY20Q1

Central Virginia Training Center (Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance), working with the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, will focus on creating a master redevelopment plan that includes a zoning overlay district for the Central Virginia Training Center. By identifying redevelopment opportunities for the site, which is located in Madison Heights, Amherst County, the region will be able to generate jobs and housing that pertain to the region’s in-demand sectors: manufacturing, technology, and healthcare.

For more information, please contact: Megan Lucas,

Central Virginia Training Center
Metrics updated for FY20Q3

Amherst LYH Region Site Readiness, through the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, will support the advancement of 15 publicly-owned sites to Tiers 3, 4, and 5. The project will be a collaboration with municipalities in Region 2 including Amherst County and the town of Amherst.

For more information, please contact: Megan Lucas,