The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) has published its 2021-2022 annual report, which highlights innovative and collaborative partnerships across departments that are transforming the economy of Southern Virginia.
“Significant economic growth has resulted due to robust partnerships across the region. IALR stands ready to serve as Virginia’s go-to partner for education and workforce development, business and economic growth, and a globally competitive business ecosystem.” – IALR President Telly Tucker.
One of the pivotal moments of the report period is the creation and adoption of the new IALR Strategic Plan, which will guide IALR’s work and efforts for the next five years. With input from key stakeholders, the plan establishes strategic goals to outline how IALR can best capitalize on its unique strengths to impact the region.
Just some of the new initiatives and programs launched, announced or expanded during FY 21 and FY 22:
- Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM)
- Center for Manufacturing Advancement
- GO TEC Training Lab at IALR and expansion into other regions of Virginia
- GO Virginia Region 3 Bridge to Recovery
- Megabytes updated menu and ordering process
- Next generation of Work (NOW) teamships
- ODU Manufacturing Engineering Technology Major, with IALR as a Satellite Campus
- Registered Apprenticeships
- Quest Certification of Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill
- REACH Partnership and REACH AmeriCorps
- Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center
- Wonder Community of Lifelong Learning
The Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC™) framework is spreading into schools across the Commonwealth. The GO TEC program is just one component of the newly developed and proven EmPOWER system – an employer-driven model to systematically connect students to careers through career awareness, exposure, and engagement and experience. Future and current members of the workforce, as well as businesses, find joint benefits in problem-solving teamships, apprenticeships, externships and internships, mock interview days and more.
While striving to promote a diversified economy by serving a variety of industries, much of IALR’s impact in 2021-2022 was in the manufacturing sector. Expanding the existing middle-school-through-college workforce development pipelines, the new Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM) program is a rapid adult-learner model that prepares talent for jobs in the defense industrial base. ATDM launched in 2020 and is already proving successful and showing what modern public-private partnerships should look like. In addition, IALR partnered with the Commonwealth of Virginia and Danville Regional Foundation to construct the Center for Manufacturing Advancement, a new destination for manufacturers ready to optimize and scale and home to the U.S. Navy’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence.
Through the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Innovation Center, a joint project with Virginia Tech, IALR has established itself as a global leader in the CEA industry. The presence of the innovative research and state-of-the-art equipment are already making an impact on Southern Virginia. Thanks to best-in-class resources, including lab spaces and staff, the Applied Research team provided 30 companies with applied research and testing services like analytical chemistry, polymer testing and more.
In partnership with the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance (SVRA) and many other economic development organizations, IALR is proud to champion the area while working with local, regional and state partners. In FY 21 and 22, the Southern Virginia region saw $498 million in announced capital investment and 1,288 new jobs. IALR contributed to economic success by serving as a temporary home for growing businesses by providing critical testing services and lab space to innovative companies across industries. The Bridge to Recovery Program connected companies with suppliers and helped businesses become more resilient post-pandemic.
The Institute Conference Center hosted a variety of events geared toward the growth of industry sectors and Southern Virginia, including trainings and economic development activities. Numerous companies, including anchor and growing employers held successful job fairs, connecting community members with quality employment. An extensive renovation of the main building and a relaunch of Megabytes, IALR’s on-site café, have allowed the Institute Conference Center to provide even better service for the 20,800 guests who visited.