35 workers from 14 states rapidly trained for employment in defense industry
As a high-performance manufacturing hub, Danville offers an innovative training model that more recently includes a federal pilot project attracting participants on a national scale to defense industrial base trades. The third cohort of students, including 35 adult learners from 14 states, graduated from the Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM) program on Aug. 5. This 16-week, hands-on curriculum rapidly develops skilled workers with industry recognized credentials for employment in the defense industry.
ATDM trains workers in key trades to fill skill gaps in welding, CNC machining, quality control inspection and additive manufacturing. The program was developed as a public-private consortium between the U.S. Department of Defense, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), Danville Community College (DCC), Phillips Corporation and The Spectrum Group, in coordination with maritime defense industry partners and Navy stakeholders. Scaling the ATDM program is a priority effort planned in the Submarines Industrial Base budget, and a key enabler in the Navy’s ability to reach and sustain the required submarine production cadence, deliver on the construction of the Navy’s number-one priority Columbia Class submarine, and ensure sustainment of existing platforms. This program is also positioned to have a significant impact across all maritime programs and platforms, and includes addressing workforce constraints at shipbuilders, shipyards and the sub-tier supply chain.
“At every level in our industrial base, manpower readiness is not a choice, it is an absolute requirement for success. The people graduating from the ATDM program are how I know our Navy and Nation will continue leading in the maritime domain,” said Admiral Scott Pappano, Program Executive Officer, Strategic Submarines. “There is nothing more important than ensuring we have the workforce to lead, innovate, and execute our Navy’s programs and platforms, and this pipeline provides these men and women with an incredible opportunity to join our mission in family-sustaining careers that are in critical demand.”
IALR is leading the multi-year pilot project to test and evaluate ATDM as a training platform for regional training centers supporting the defense industrial base. The pilot project is funded through the National Imperative for Industrial Skills initiative which was launched in 2020 by the Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment Program Office (IBAS) in the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.
“IALR continues to serve as a leading model of intentional, effective workforce development initiatives to generate a sustainable pipeline of work-ready talent for high-performance manufacturers and other target sectors,” said Telly Tucker, president of IALR. “We thank our ATDM partners and congratulate these students on their accomplishments; knowing that we played a role in securing a high-quality job for these men and women while also helping our nation’s defense manufacturers is extremely fulfilling.”
The ATDM curriculum is customized to the skills and training needs of the naval shipbuilding and sustainment sector of the defense industrial base. Training takes place in Danville on the campuses of IALR and DCC, and DCC serves as the curriculum provider.
“We’re incredibly proud of the DCC Knights who have completed the ATDM training,” said Dr. Jerry Wallace, president of Danville Community College. “Thanks to our strong partnership with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, access to this unique, specialized training is available right here in Danville. These students have mastered skills over the last four months that will propel them forward into high-paying careers, impacting the defense manufacturing industry for years to come. We cannot wait to see where their hard work and dedication leads them.”
Phillips Corporation serves as the technology provider for the ATDM training program, and provides the latest equipment for high-quality, industry-focused training.
“Phillips Corporation is very pleased to continue our training and advanced manufacturing roles with IALR’s ATDM program,” said Rick Morgan, Director, Phillips Corporation. “A terrific example of success related to the mission of this program is that Phillips has hired a recent ATDM graduate of one of the four training programs, in this case a member of the additive manufacturing training cohort. Our new employee, a Marine Corps veteran, will be living and working in Danville for Phillips Corporation on additive and other advanced manufacturing projects as part of Phillips’ continuing commitment and dedication to ‘Team Danville’ programs.”
IALR hosted an ATDM completion ceremony on Aug. 5. Dr. Debra Holley, ATDM Director, and Dr. Jerry Wallace, DCC President, awarded completion certificates. Commissioner Daniel Gade with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services served as keynote speaker. Students hailed from Hawaii, California, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Of the 35 graduates, two are Navy veterans, two are active Navy personnel, and three are Afghan allies. Fourteen of the students were incumbent workers, sponsored by their employers to advance and expand their skills; sponsoring industry partners included Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Curtiss-Wright (New York), Bearon Manufacturing (Pennsylvania), and others. The remaining graduates are working with ATDM placement staff to gain employment; to date, students have received offers from Newport News Shipbuilding, Electric Boat and BWX Technologies.
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation with applied research, advanced learning, economic development, manufacturing advancement and conference services. IALR’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville. For more information, visit www.ialr.org.
Danville Community College is a two-year institution of higher education under the state-wide Virginia Community College System. DCC’s service area includes the City of Danville, Pittsylvania County, and Halifax County. For more information about the college’s more than 100 programs of study, visit www.danville.edu.