Virginia Governor Ralph Northam joined Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and his Arkansas contingency of state officials and business leaders as they toured the precision machining workforce program at the IALR. Business leaders in Arkansas have identified the partnership between Danville Community College, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and K-12 public schools in the region as a Gold Standard Workforce Development Model.

Governor Hutchinson and his delegation later toured George Washington High School and Danville Community College, as well as the Regional Center for Advanced Technology and Training. Local leaders joined both Governors and their delegation for discussion of the key aspects of the workforce program that attracted the contingency to the region. 

Troy Simpson, Director of Advanced Manufacturing at Danville Community College explained that the 3rd year capstone high precision manufacturing program is the first of its type in the USA. The industry led program replicates a real world advanced manufacturing factory where it develops future manufacturing leaders.

The program has 100% job placement for students who can earn two degrees and nine national certifications. In conjunction with the program Simpson and cohorts have developed a metrology (dimensional inspection) program and became the first college in the US to award American Society of Quality national certifications to graduates. 

Governor Northam addressed the critical nature of manufacturing and commended the Dan River Region’s precision machining program for bringing needed skills to jobs. The governors join the ranks of media representatives from national journals who have toured the center as well as business prospects from across the nation, industrial trainees from thirteen states, and companies from Canada, Japan, and Europe. 

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (left) and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (right) toured the Gene Haas Center and met with industry leaders.