manufacturing summit; new river valley

Bi-Annual Manufacturing Summit Connects Companies & CTE Directors

New River Valley, VA – Onward NRV hosted the second manufacturing summit of the year on October 10th at the Farmhouse in Christiansburg.

As part of Onward NRV’s Five-Year Strategy, Onward 2023, we hosted the bi-annual summit for the Manufacturing industry to encourage collaboration around common challenges and opportunties and provide input on Onward NRV’s industry specific strategies. Manufacturing leaders from across region gathered to learn about resources Onward NRV is creating to help companies engage and retain talent as well as ways to address challenges that the industry faces here in the New River Valley. Some of these resources include the NRV Experience, a summer internship consortium that will show students how to live in the NRV as well as the manufacturing hub video and webpages that were launched on National Manufacturing Day.

During the kick-off event earlier this year, manufacturing leaders identified some of their challenges as the I-81 corridor and perceptions of manufacturing among middle- and high-school aged students. To begin to address these issues, Delegate Chris Hurst, a member of the I-81 Advisory council provided an update on I-81. He briefed summit participants on the recommendations to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) regarding the development of the I-81 Corridor Improvement program and updates to the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan.

manufacturing; delegate hurst; new river valley; I-81

The majority of the summit was spent with a panel of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Directors from Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski counties sharing information about how their programs prepare students for a professional work environment, soft skill training, and how they try to get students excited about the manufacturing industry. The panel discussed the need for local manufacturers to offer opportunities for High School students below the age of 18 to get involved with their companies whether through job shadowing, plant tours, or internships. The CTE Directors are currently looking to partner with local manufacturers to participate in high school job fairs and allow onsite visits, as well as offer internship and job shadowing opportunities for high school students. They also provided ideas on how local manufacturers can get involved with CTE programs located throughout the region regardless of where your company is located.

The next summit will take place on April 2, 2020 where we will continue the conversation of changing K – 12 student perceptions and addressing the talents needs for the manufacturing industry.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

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