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Manufacturing Skills Institute unveiled at SVHEC

The Virginia Manufacturers Association and ECPI University unveiled the new Manufacturing Skills Institute Friday afternoon at the SVHEC-Innovation Center, located at 820 Bruce St. in South Boston. 

The Manufacturing Skills Institute is a flexible education and workforce training system that aligns regional employer needs, industry-recognized credentials and economic development objectives. 

The institute will provide education and training programs for both existing and emerging technology skills within the Mid-Atlantic with the goal of making Southern Virginia an internationally-recognized hub for advanced manufacturing training and education. 

Additionally, ECPI is offering select advanced manufacturing skills certificates that translate into advanced standing college credits.

“The system will be phased-in and will include a portfolio of world-class education and skills training that leads to competency-based, industry recognized and stackable credentials,” said Brett Vassey, Virginia Manufacturers Association president and CEO.

He described the partnership as an “industry-based, outcome-based program that leads to jobs.”

The Manufacturing Skills Institute will provide relevant education and skills training for careers in advanced manufacturing by offering targeted training programs delivered by Manufacturing Skills Institute and partner institutions. 

Current Manufacturing Skills Institute Education partners include the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Modeling and Simulation Center of Excellence at Riverstone Energy Center; National Center for Coatings Application, Research and Education; and National Technology Transfer at the Research and Development Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency located in the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center-Innovation Center. 

“The move to establish the MSI is the next logical step in providing a focused source for manufacturing skills development. It is our vision to expand the MSI with additional value-added partners and become a recognized industry leader in skills training,” said Kevin Paveglio, president of ECPI University Virginia Beach Campus.

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Executive Director Dr. Betty Adams described Friday’s announcement saying, “It’s not an exaggeration to say today marks a new chapter in our workforce story.

“Workforce education is at the heart of our mission to advance the economic potential of Southern Virginia through education, innovation and collaboration. We are placing our focus on those workforce sectors identified as being job-producers now and in the future. Advanced Manufacturing is one of these areas, which makes the Manufacturing Skills Institute a perfect fit for us. Becoming a ‘destination for workforce training’ not just in the region or state but for the nation is very exciting,” Adams added.

The Manufacturing Skills Institute is the realization of the Virginia Manufacturers Association and ECPI University’s long-term commitment to the implementation of policies, processes and programs aligned with industry needs and standards to ensure a workforce pipeline capable of meeting existing and emerging employer requirements in advanced technology industries such as manufacturing.

Paul Dockery of ECPI University said, “For 46 years, ECPI has helped give hands-on, skill-based education to students.  Our goal is to not only to be an industrial partner but an academic partner as well. ECPI helped develop this program with the help of SVHEC to provide a solution to workforce training and development.”

David Kenealy, director of Research and Development at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, said ECPI brings to the table commitment and organization.

Dr. Doug Corrigan described the partnership as a nationwide initiative. 

“If you do anything, do it world class as an example to those around us. We have some of the world’s best resources here in South Boston. We’re seeing a conglomeration of forces come together in South Boston to make our place in the world,” he concluded.