Chatham Middle School students work on a GO TEC project. Courtesy of IALR.

The GO Virginia economic development board has approved more than $5 million in grants, with nearly $3.5 million of that going to an expansion of the Danville-based GO TEC program that attempts to get middle school students interested in certain manufacturing trades, such as welding. (See Cardinal’s background story on the GO TEC program: “Middle schoolers learn about manufacturing with GO TEC.” This funding would enable the program to expand into Southwest Virginia and Hampton Roads.

Other projects funded include money to support training a workforce for autonomous vehicles in the Roanoke and New River valleys, to increase the number of welders in the Roanoke Valley, and for business parks connected to airports in Lynchburg and the Shenandoah Valley.

Since the program’s inception in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 242 projects and awarded approximately $99.5 million to support regional economic development efforts.

Here’s the full list of funding approved in this latest round by the GO Virginia board — the GO stands for Growth & Opportunity:


GO TEC Virginia 2025 | $3,474,821

Region 1: Counties of Buchanan, Carroll, Grayson, and Wythe

Region 3: Counties of Charlotte, Cumberland, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Martinsville, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, and the city of Danville

Region 4: Counties of Greensville and Surry, and the cities of Colonial Heights and Hopewell

Region 5: Cities of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth

The Institute of Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), in partnership with GO Virginia In-Region Coordinating Entities (IRCEs), community employers, economic developers, K-12 divisions and higher education institutions, will develop a strategic talent pipeline initiative designed to attract new companies and grow existing businesses in targeted traded sectors across multiple GO Virginia regions. The project will build the infrastructure and administrative capacity to expand the existing GO TEC model designed to scale career exposure programming and talent pathways that lead students to employment in high-growth industries.


Region 6 Talent Pathways Initiative (TPI) Planning | $250,000

Region 6: Counties of King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford

The Bay Area Workforce Development Board (BCWDB) will define talent pathways for Region 6’s targeted industries. Using a sub-regional approach, BCWDB will develop a plan to create robust talent pipelines specific to the region’s industry clusters through tools including situational analysis, creating asset maps of the region and developing industry coalitions.


SHD Technology Park | $993,300

Region 8: Counties of Augusta and Rockingham, and the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro

The Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport Commission (SHD) will make fundamental site improvements to the Aviation Technology Park. These improvements include the construction of a water line and gravity sewer line that will strategically redirect existing utilities at the site to the perimeter, allowing SHD to build out the aviation park and construct several new hangars. This project expects to support the creation of up to 267 high-wage jobs.

Industry 4.0 for the Automated-Connected-Electrified (ACE) Workforce | $500,000

Region 2: Counties of Botetourt, Montgomery and Roanoke, and the city of Roanoke

Virginia Tech College of Engineering will scale up their transportation and autonomous vehicles sector through the formulation of an Automated-Connected-Electrified (ACE) Coalition of over 150+ public, private, and nonprofit organizations. The ACE Coalition will provide direct technical assistance and advising to sector companies, create a network navigator position to serve as the point of contact for companies navigating the network, form a Project Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC), as well as implement Industry 4.0 curriculum to increase the pool of qualified workers for the cluster.

Airport Commerce Park | $190,000

Region 2: County of Campbell and the city of Lynchburg

The city of Lynchburg and Campbell County are collaborating to advance 82 acres in an existing airport park from Tier 2 to Tier 3 along the Virginia Business Ready Site Program (VBRSP) scale. The site will be designed to attract firms in the region’s targeted industries.

BTEC – Expanding Welding Training Capacity & Jobs in the Roanoke Valley | $166,667

Region 2: Counties of Botetourt and Craig

The Botetourt County Economic Development Authority (EDA) will expand the current Botetourt Technical Education Center (BTEC) welding program that will help serve the unmet need for additional welders in the region. This expansion will include an additional ten welding booths, allowing the program to train an additional 45 new welders, increase high school and adult enrollment and double the hands-on training time capacity at the welding booths.

Pathways to Success | $100,000

Region 6: Counties of Caroline, Colonial Beach, Essex, King and Queen, Mathews, Middlesex, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Westmoreland, and the city of Fredericksburg

Stafford County Public Schools, in partnership with JASON Learning, will design and develop an 18-week course for grades 6-8 that will introduce students to career opportunities, industry certifications, occupations, credentials, advanced placement opportunities and more, all with a focus on the region’s targeted industry clusters. JASON learning will deliver course training for up to 50 educators from Stafford County Public Schools and other regional school district partners.

The Gupton Initiative | $99,200

Region 1: Counties of Bland and Tazewell

Region 2: County of Franklin and the city of Roanoke

Region 3: City of Danville

Region 4: City of Petersburg

Region 8: County of Rockingham and the city of Harrisonburg

The Virginia College Fund (VCF) will create a pipeline of internship and employment opportunities for students of VCF member institutions in the advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing cluster. VCF will head the working group consisting of partnering institutions and localities, which will develop a situational analysis, strategy and a roadmap for the Gupton Initiative in order to further demonstrate the potential for employment in advanced manufacturing sectors across Virginia.

CRC REDO Strategy and Business Plan | $65,000

Region 3: Counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward

Through a series of regional discussions, the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) will develop a business plan that includes strategic goals, priorities, focus points and areas of support for the communities of the CRC footprint. This will enable the region to better align with current members’ goals, reflect changes in the economic development landscape and launch a Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) in an effective, sustainable manner.

Quantitative Metrics to Determine Effects of Foreign Investment | $30,000

Region 7: County of Fairfax and the city of Arlington

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission will evaluate the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on wages and jobs in the region. This project will help the region understand the role international business plays in its economy, as well as identify strategies to advance economic development efforts to diversity and strengthen the regional economy.