Byers Technical Institute (BTI), a technical training center in Rockbridge County, partnered with the City of Buena Vista and the Rockbridge County Economic Development Authority to address the high demand for skilled welders throughout the Shenandoah Valley. In 2018, the Rockbridge Area Advanced Manufacturing Program (RAAMP) was awarded $100,000 in GO Virginia funds that were matched by the two localities and BTI with an additional $100,000. Funds were used to support instructors, purchase equipment and machinery, and modify and upgrade the building to expand BTI’s ability to enroll and train welders. As of September, 34 students have completed BTI’s welding program and are now employed by 13 different companies with an average annual starting salary at $46,179. BTI has had 100% job placement of their students. All grant activities are completed, but BTI will continue to track and report on jobs and salaries that result from this investment. Over the next 5-years this program is expected to graduate 72 welders.
The next project application deadline for GO Virginia Region 8 is December 13, 2019. Proposals submitted by this deadline will be presented to the Region 8 Council in January 2020. The CSPDC serves as a support organization for the GO Virginia Region 8 Council and provides grant administration for GO Virginia projects funded within the CSPDC.