The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) has published its 2019 Annual Report, which shares significant growth and accomplishments among each of its five divisions over the past fiscal year, July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019.
A new Advanced Manufacturing division led by Director Troy Simpson was added to further establish Southern Virginia as the preferred site for advanced manufacturers. It cooperates with Danville Community College to develop a pipeline of skilled machinists and has secured funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Danville Regional Foundation to build a $25.5 million Center for Manufacturing Advancement estimated to open in 2021.
Other growth included the Applied Research division’s launch of the nation’s first Plant Endophyte Research Center. With a library of more than 2,000 plant endophytes, or beneficial bacteria, research is being conducted on how these microorganisms may reduce chemical fertilizer use, improve soil quality and plant health, and increase crop yields. Also highlighted was the Advanced Learning division’s leadership of the GO Virginia-funded Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC) project. This initiative received GO Virginia’s largest competitive grant awarded to date and will help extend the region’s lauded talent pipeline to middle schools with the introduction of Career Connections labs. The Institute Conference Center also experienced growth by serving 17 percent more guests and 29 percent more programs than the previous year. Lastly, the work of the Economic Development division, thanks to the partnership with the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, resulted in record activity over the past year – 655 new jobs and $106.7 million of capital investment by employers.
“I am extremely proud of the progress our staff and partners made last year to help transform our communities for the better thanks to an intense spirit of collaboration,” said Mark Gignac, IALR’s Executive Director. “To recognize the vital partnerships with other organizations and like-minded change agents, we have titled our report ‘Transforming Communities Together.’”
Select copies of the Annual Report are available in print format at IALR as well as online. The online version is accessible at www.flipsnack.com/theialr and includes interactive elements.