City of Buena Vista's 2016 New Year’s Resolution: We resolve to develop an even stronger workforce through the development of an advanced manufacturing lab in the City to further support our manufacturing cluster and capabilities.

March Update & Focus: The City of Buena Vista, situated between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Maury River, is the industrial and manufacturing nucleus of the southern Shenandoah Valley. While new business recruitment is an important component, support and retention of our existing business community is paramount.  Our manufacturing activity centers around natural resources, textiles, and a variety of industrial, commercial and residential goods. Existing manufacturing companies like Advanced Drainage Systems, Auto Recyclers, Everbright Corporation, HDT Technologies, Modine, Munters, Northwest Hardwoods, Premier Fabrication Solutions, and Sayre Enterprises all call Buena Vista home.

Realizing the need for increased workforce training programs to support this cluster, the City of Buena Vista is partnering with Rockbridge County, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, Buena Vista City Schools and Rockbridge County Schools to develop a new space that will address this need. The two areas of focus for the early stages of the project are heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and an advanced manufacturing laboratory.

Currently, Rockbridge County High School has a two-year HVAC course designed to give students the basic and technical knowledge through a hands-on training classroom and supervised on-the-job training. To address the need for additional workforce training programs, Buena Vista City Schools have identified space for the advanced manufacturing laboratory. By looking at a solution for additional training on a regional level, students and businesses from the surrounding community will benefit from expanded training options. The advanced manufacturing laboratory will also benefit Dabney S. Lancaster Community College by providing additional space to hold after-hour adult training programs.

After a recent kickoff meeting, great progress with these partners is being made in the City of Buena Vista to advance this effort. Next month, these collaborators will inventory and analyze the existing assets and equipment needs for the manufacturing lab. The City of Buena Vista is looking forward to developing an even stronger workforce and continuing to support the backbone of their economy through the manufacturing industry. For more information contact Brian Brown, Director of Economic Development, and visit http://www.buenavistabusiness.com.