The Alleghany Highlands has received one of five grants through the commonwealth of Virginia’s GO Virginia (Growth and Opportunity for Virginia) initiative.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced earlier this week that five projects were awarded grant funding totaling over $1.1 million.
In a release issued Wednesday, Northam’s office stated, “These grants are for projects each region identified as vital to their efforts to diversify the regional economy, strengthen their workforce and support collaborative programs between localities, public entities and private businesses.
As a member of Region 2, Alleghany County and the city of Covington received $76,000 in GO Virginia grant funds that will be used to implement a new drone-technology training program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, to capitalize on the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone Initiative, which is focused on the development of unmanned systems facilities in the Highlands region.
This new program at DSLCC will provide a career pathway beginning with project-based learning opportunities for high school students and extending to four-year degree attainment through partnerships with other higher-education institutions.
"I'd like to thank Dr. John Rainone, Gail Johnson and others at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College for working on a successful grant application through the newly-formed GO Virginia program,” said Alleghany County Administrator Jon Lanford. “Their diligent efforts in this and in many other facets will help grow our region’s initiative to diversify our economy by focusing on this emerging technology."
Covington City Manager Richard Douglas echoed Lanford’s sentiments in a statement issued Friday morning, adding, “I truly appreciate the continued team effort of the city of Covington, Alleghany County, the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation and DSLCC to make the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone a reality and to promote drone-related economic development in the region.
“These grant funds will provide critical equipment and training opportunities to further our goals,” Douglas continued. “Particular thanks go to Gail Johnson at the AHEDC and Tim Tingler, owner of Quest Knight Enterprises, for presenting our application to the GO Virginia regional board.”
The GO Virginia Board approved five projects from three regions.
This will leverage $3.2 million in non-state sources to assist with economic diversification throughout Virginia.
According to the release, local governments have committed nearly $800,000 toward the five projects.
“GO Virginia is inspiring the innovative thinking that will help to push Virginia’s economy forward,” Northam said. “It is encouraging to see how coordination between the state and our higher-education partners is helping businesses take their operations to the next level and to create opportunities in every region of the commonwealth.”
Other grants awarded include:
• Region 1: Cities of Bristol and Norton and the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Galax, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise and Wythe, $250,000, United Way of Southwest Virginia Ignite Internships;
• Region 2: Counties of Bedford and Campbell and the city of Lynchburg, $300,000, Center for Energy Research and Education Industry Labs;
• Region 2: Cities of Lynchburg, Roanoke and Salem, counties of Roanoke, Montgomery and the towns of Blacksburg, Washington, Wise and Wythe, $244,300, Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program Expansion;
• Region 9: Counties of Culpeper and Fauquier, $245,000, GWC Piedmont Technical Education Center.