Rear Adm. Scott Pappano at the IALR’s inaugural Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing Summit in Danville in August. Courtesy of IALR.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

* * *

IALR hosts hiring fair for defense manufacturing program

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville is seeking instructors and lab technicians for its Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing program and will host a hiring fair on May 15.

The training program is on track to produce 800 to 1,000 candidates to fill vacancies in the defense industrial base by 2025. It serves as a national defense imperative supporting the submarine industrial base through workforce development.

Those interested can register online and book a 60-minute appointment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to interview and tour program facilities. The program is hiring experienced professionals in the fields of welding, additive manufacturing, CNC machining, quality control inspection (metrology) and non-destructive testing. Some positions start immediately; others will begin this fall. 

To learn more about available positions, visit

* * *

Danville-Pittsylvania chamber seeks applicants for Leadership Southside

The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for the 2023-2024 Leadership Southside program.

Leadership Southside is a 10-month program designed to develop participants’ leadership skills to strengthen them in their roles as an individual, professional and community member.

Session topics include leading a team, conflict resolution, nonprofit board leadership, communication skills, crisis leadership, equitable leadership, presentation skills, purpose-driven leadership and transformational leadership.

In January, participants will travel to Richmond for Chamber Day at the Capitol to engage with members of the General Assembly.

Leadership Southside is a ten-month program, typically meeting on the third Tuesday of each month from August through May. Participants will graduate in May 2024.

To apply, visit Applications are due by 5 p.m. June 16. Only complete applications will be considered.

Rachel Covington, who previously served as the senior director of member services for the chamber, will lead and facilitate the program. For more information about how to apply, email her at

* * *

New film highlights regional changemakers

A new documentary, “Changemakers of the SWVA Coalfields,” will be shown June 3 at the Lyric Theatre in St. Paul.

Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and the screening begins at 4 p.m. The event is free.

According to a news release, the film by Jan Canterbury explores questions about the region’s challenges and opportunities: Can we revitalize Southwest Virginia? How can we break down barriers to transform the region into one that offers good-paying jobs and social vibrancy while still retaining its kind and true character? Will our children want to stay and raise their family in these mountains?

The film features conversations with people from Appalachian Voices, Friends of SWVA, Lawrence Brothers Inc., Mountain Heritage Museum, the Ridgeview Robotics team and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. 

“‘Changemakers’ is a positive documentary that highlights both the challenges and strides we’re making in SWVA to jump start a more diverse economy and to give our kids the best opportunity for their future in this beautiful place we take pride in calling ‘home.’ It’s about us, it’s for us. And it’s a fun film for family and friends to watch together,” Chad Thompson, marketing coordinator with Abingdon Tourism, said in the release.

* * *

Patrick County nurse named Virginia’s public health nurse of the year

Pamela Rorrer, who has spent much of her career as a public health nurse in Patrick County, received this year’s Virginia Department of Public Health Nurse of the Year award.

Kyndra Jackson (left), director of public health nursing for the state, and Dr. Karen Shelton (right), Virgina’s health commissioner, traveled to Stuart to recognize Public Health Nurse of the Year Pamela Rorrer. Photo courtesy of West Piedmont Health District.

“’One-man-show’ describes the day-to-day public health nursing practice of Pamela Rorrer,” Verna Burnette, West Piedmont Health District’s nurse manager and Rorrer’s supervisor, said in a news release.

Burnette nominated Rorrer to honor her work ethic, ability to rapidly adjust to changing needs and commitment to the people of Patrick County, the release said.

“Pam is 110% deserving of this award,” Burnette said. “For her, this is a higher calling.”

Any nurse within the 35 state health districts is eligible for the annual Public Health Nurse of the Year award. It is based on a peer nomination process, with the final recipient selected by a state-level panel.