Governor Northam Announces More Than $1.1 Million in GO Virginia Grants

5 projects address strategic needs of regions in talent development, infrastructure development and commercialization that will create higher-paying jobs

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced five regional projects funded through GO Virginia (Growth and Opportunity for Virginia) grants totaling $1,115,300. Key members of the Governor’s cabinet, the General Assembly and the business community approved the GO Virginia regional per capita grant funds 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 is inspiring the innovative thinking that will help to push Virginia’s economy forward,” said Governor Northam. “It is encouraging to see how coordination between the state and our higher-education partners is helping businesses take their operations to the next level and to create opportunities in every region of the Commonwealth.”

The GO Virginia per capita grant funds 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 the first step toward the creation of higher paying jobs in the regions.

“The Commonwealth’s approach to economic development is forward-thinking, focused and in tune with national and global trends, which is clearly reflected in the projects that were approved today,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Esther Lee. “GO Virginia is an innovative approach that supports the best opportunities for creating higher-paying jobs in every region of Virginia.”

“The nine GO Virginia regions have been working diligently over the last year to drive innovative projects that address each region’s specific workforce economic development needs,” said GO Virginia Board Chairman John O. “Dubby” Wynne. “The third round of projects and, approved today, are the latest examples of the regions’ hard work. We are particularly pleased with the level of private sector participation and collaboration in the development of these projects and the opportunities they will bring to people across the state.

The regional per capita funding is awarded on a rolling basis by the state GO Virginia Board based on the regional application processes. The first round of statewide competitive grants are expected to be awarded in June 2018.
The GO Virginia Board approved five projects from three regions. This will leverage $3.2 million in non-state sources to assist with economic diversification throughout Virginia. Local governments have committed nearly $800,000 toward the five projects.

2018 Round 3 Regional Per Capita Grant Awards

GO VA Region and Localities within region involved in project award


Region 1: Cities of Bristol and Norton and the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Galax, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise and Wythe.

United Way of Southwest Virginia: Ignite Internships


The project will expand the Ignite Program throughout the region and will collaboratively align school curriculums with local employer needs. United Way of Southwest Virginia will build a web‐based platform to deliver activities that will encourage post‐secondary education and streamlined workforce credentialing, provide work‐based learning opportunities and match new graduates with local employers.

Region 2: Alleghany County and the city of Covington

Enhancing the Region through New Technology for Unmanned Systems


The project will implement a new drone technology training program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College to capitalize on the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone Initiative surrounding the development of unmanned systems facilities in the region. This new program will establish a career pathway beginning with project‐based learning opportunities for high school students and extending to four-year degree attainment through partnerships with other higher-education institutions.

Region 2: Counties of Bedford and Campbell, and the city of Lynchburg.

Center for Energy Research and Education (CERE) Industry Labs


The project will create a Center for Energy Research and Education (CERE) Industry Labs at Liberty University that is connected to local and regional economic development efforts. These labs will offer regional companies and institutions of higher education the facilities necessary to promote research and development as well as to foster the attraction and retention of the scientific and engineering workforce.

Region 2: Cities of Lynchburg, Roanoke and Salem, counties of Roanoke and Montgomery and the towns of Blacksburg. Washington, Wise, and Wythe.

Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP) Expansion


The project enhances and expands the reach of the Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP), a partnership between RBTC, the city of Roanoke and the Virginia Western Community College, which offers technology‐based startups access to classroom education, mentoring and assistance in identifying capital.

Region 9: Counties of Culpeper and Fauquier.

GWC Piedmont Technical Education Center


The proposed project will redevelop the former George Washington Carver High School into the state-of-the-art GWC Piedmont Technical Education Center to train machinists and welders. New Pathways Tech Inc. will operate the facility in partnership with Germanna Community College and the American Institute of Welding to train machinists and welders for the region’s advanced manufacturing industry.