More than $6.3 million in GO Virginia grants allocated to drive economic growth amid pandemic

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RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday an allocation of more than $6.3 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants to help the Commonwealth address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by funding a total of 15 projects, including eight regional GO Virginia projects and seven projects through GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program.

“This funding will go a long way towards supporting a broad-based economic recovery across our Commonwealth,” said Northam. “As we celebrate these projects, we must also recognize the leadership and many contributions of the late GO Virginia Board Chairman Tom Farrell, whose business acumen helped advance the GO Virginia mission of fostering lasting regional collaboration, and was instrumental in mounting a robust effort to spur Virginia’s economic recovery amid the pandemic. His legacy will live on through innovative, impactful programs like this one.”

According to a release from Gov. Northam’s office, projects receiving funds will provide additional capacity to expand workforce development and talent pipelines in key industries, support the growth of start-ups and entrepreneurial endeavors, grow Virginia’s portfolio of business-ready sites, and help regions mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

“From energy and life sciences to manufacturing and tourism, GO Virginia continues to spur innovative ideas and strategies to support businesses throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “As Chair, Tom Farrell gave so much of his time to the betterment of Virginia communities, and he will be dearly missed.”

“The recent efforts of the GO Virginia program demonstrate the importance of strategic thinking in regions, and how addressing near-term economic needs can create long-term economic growth opportunities,” said GO Virginia Board Member and House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn. “This round of grants represent a combination of ingenuity, collaboration, and resiliency during a time of unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact they have on communities around the Commonwealth.”

Since 2017, GO Virginia has funded 163 projects and awarded approximately $56.9 million to support regional economic development efforts.

The governor’s office listed 15 grant awards, but only the following four grants are being allocated to our area:

2021 ROUND ONE REGIONAL GRANT AWARDS

Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education | $613,000

Region 4: Counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex and the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, and Petersburg 

The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, in partnership with Richard Bland College, will establish a Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) chapter in Virginia and launch an Advanced Manufacturing Technician program. Funding will support the development of new hands-on learning space for advanced manufacturing and new training capacity for jobs that are in high demand by area manufacturers. 

757 Collab Bridge | $32,000

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

757 Collab, a new venture of 757 Accelerate and 757 Angels, will provide rent-free space and essential programming for 25-30 startup companies each year. This grant will support the ongoing activities of 757 Accelerate and 757 Startup Studios as they develop the new 757 Collab organization.

ECONOMIC RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY GRANTS

Startup Stability Program | $197,000

Region 5: Cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth 

The Portsmouth Development Foundation will support small businesses adversely impacted by the pandemic through subsidized co-working space and mentoring services. 

Marine Trades Training Program Expansion | $99,137

Region 5: Cities of Portsmouth and Norfolk 

Tidewater Community College’s Marine Trades Training Program will expand its welding and marine coatings programs at the Skilled Trades Academy in Portsmouth. The welding program will be expanded by 33 percent to accommodate an additional 40 students per year, and the marine coating program will be relocated and expanded to support an additional 84 students per year.

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