Manufacturing Labor & Growth in Southern Virginia

Manufacturing Labor and Growth in Southern Virginia

The driving force behind the success of any business is its people. 

SOVA is home to skilled manufacturing labor and a workforce that is ready to help your business thrive.

Accolades about Virginia’s amazing workforce

  • Virginia ranks third in the nation for best workforce and is the leading East Coast destination for best overall business climate according to CNBC’s ranking of America’s Top States for Business 2018. 
  • Virginia stands as one of our nation’s leading innovation states, boasting 34% more specialized in the concentration of jobs in advanced industries.

A skilled and loyal manufacturing workforce

SOVA’s people are its best asset.  Cultivated over generations, today SOVA provides manufacturing businesses with a dedicated, highly-trained, and specialized workforce. People here demonstrate a strong work ethic, and they are committed to their professions and to their communities. The quality of their work speaks for itself, given the success of the many businesses that already call SOVA home.  

Communities across the SOVA region embrace their rich manufacturing heritage and welcome new manufacturing opportunities to the region. 

High caliber talent pool  

The SOVA talent pool includes experienced CNC machinists, advanced manufacturing engineering technologists, and precision machining technicians that are essential careers for manufacturing labor. It also includes an abundance of certified welders, HVAC technicians, electricians, plumbers and carpenters. Access to this high caliber, homegrown talent pool reduces training time needed to onboard new staff and enables you to quickly ramp up production. The SOVA workforce offers a foundation of high caliber skills that can be further developed and adapted to meet the specific needs of your business.

Virginia is a right-to-work state 

Virginia is a right-to-work state with the 9th-lowest unionization rate in the U.S. at 5.9%.

Customized, advanced training 

The Virginia Community College System excels at developing specialized training and certification programs at the local community college campuses and training facilities. There are four community college institutions and three higher education institutions that serve Southern Virginia which offer short-term training, certifications, and two-year Associate’s degrees. These programs are progressive and proven to ensure the local manufacturing workforce remains highly-skilled, highly-trained, and competitive. The availability of customized, advanced training well-positions the SOVA workforce to support existing and new growth in the manufacturing industry for manufacturing labor.

This concentrated community focus on developing a strong local workforce helps bolster the region’s stable, pro-business climate and directly contributes to why Virginia continues to rank as a top location for businesses year after year. 

STEM training at an early age 

Virginia’s commitment to fostering a strong workforce starts early, as young as pre-kindergarten.  The focus on teaching a STEM-based curriculum (science, technology, engineering and math) continues through high school and beyond. Schools encourage students to explore STEM-enriched programs to prepare them for future STEM jobs in fields including advanced manufacturing.

Home to community colleges and higher education centers 

The Virginia Community College System oversees a network of 23 community colleges in Virginia, which serve residents of Virginia and provide two-year degrees and various specialty training and certifications. SOVA is home to Danville Community College (DCC), Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) and Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC). 

In addition, SOVA is home to three higher education centers, including New College Institute (NCI), Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC), and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). 

These seven institutions work together and with other four-year universities to deliver robust, relevant, and progressive workforce training solutions to meet the specific needs of businesses in and around SOVA. By locating in SOVA, your business has a direct pipeline of manufacturing labor and other kinds of employees as they graduate from an Associate’s degree and specialized certification programs.

Customized, low-cost training solutions  

Beyond initial training, these institutions partner with local industry to give your business the opportunity to continuously refresh, enhance, and expand the skill sets of your manufacturing workforce. As the need arises, SOVA businesses can partner with local educational institutions to develop specialized programs and training to ensure the local workforce remains uniquely qualified to meet your business’ growing needs, enabling you to continue to thrive and expand your business. Often these customized solutions can be offered to businesses at low or no cost. Learn more about Virginia business incentives.

Research and development capabilities 

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research offers world-class, fully-equipped research facilities available to any business in the region. IALR advances research in the key areas of Agriculture and Polymers. These departments are reinforced by scientists who are leaders in their respective fields, and equipment and instrumentation that enables them to expand the boundaries of knowledge and conduct valuable testing and analysis for partners and clients. IALR offers a range of technical services as well. Well-equipped biology, chemistry and polymer laboratories are capable of providing rapid assessments of product and process development.” To learn more, visit 

Proximity to major higher education universities

SOVA is centrally located near a plethora of top-ranked four-year colleges and universities. This gives your business the opportunity to reach and attract top talent with Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate degrees.  

In the region, your business can source talent and manufacturing labor from Longwood University, Averett University, Hampden-Sydney College, and Liberty University. Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University, and George Mason University are major Virginia universities just outside of the SOVA footprint.

Across the state line in North Carolina, your business has access to talent from Duke University, UNC – Chapel Hill, UNC – Greensboro, UNC – Charlotte, Wake Forest University, N.C. State University, and more. The Southern Virginia workforce includes skilled labor living just across the border in North Carolina. There are many people who are live in one area in North Carolina or other regions of Virginia, but are willing commute into Southern Virginia for a quality work opportunity.  

As your business seeks to hire emerging talent from these major universities, SOVA is located within a commutable distance to major cities and talent hubs, making it easy for businesses to pull talent from neighboring regions, and creating more advanced manufacturing business opportunities. A practice that serves to further enrich the caliber of talent that can be sourced “locally.”