New training center in Henry County expected to help attract manufacturing jobs

Center will allow companies to train employees quicker

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Southside is quickly becoming an epicenter of advanced manufacturing, with companies like Unison and Kyocera opening factories.

Martinsville Mayor Gene Teague says the city and Henry County are trying to take advantage of that by building the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Training (CCAT).

"Not many industrial parks-- we couldn't find any-- that (couple) the training and a center that allows employers to start hiring early," Teague said. "So this really should set us apart from other communities."

It will be built at the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre, which is owned by the county but the city and county split the revenue.

Companies that locate there will be able to train prospective employees while the company is getting set up, something that would have been helpful in the past.

"Had it been here, it would have really put us to the head of the class in terms of being...desirable for locations," Teague explained.

Patrick Henry Community College will provide the training for companies that locate in the business centre.

Dr. Angeline Godwin, PHCC President, says this is a first for community colleges in Virginia.

She believes this is mutually beneficial for the students and the companies.

"As a new company locates in Commonwealth Crossing, (students) might transition from an on-campus program to that specific facility to be trained," said Godwin.

"As those companies advance and they begin to add on new business lines, there may be opportunities where they need to specialize programs here."

Construction for the training center should start in early 2018 and take about a year to complete.

It is being paid for with a $5 million grant from the Harvest Foundation.

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