New Workforce Training Center Now Open in Southwest Virginia

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Ribbon Cutting at Southern Gap Transportation and Logistics Center

The Southern Gap Transportation and Logistics Center is located in Buchanan County

Pictured: Pictured: Matthew Fields (Dir. Marketing & Tourism, Buchanan County), Tim Hess (Buchanan County Supervisor), Tom Lester (Chief Of Staff for Senator Travis Hackworth), Jay Rife (Chairman, Buchanan County IDA), Dr. Tommy Wright (President, Southwest Virginia Community College), Jonathon Belcher (Executive Dir. VCEDA), Randall Rose (Dean of Workforce, Southwest Virginia Community College), Angie Farmer (Manager, SGTLC), Cody Mumpower (representing Congressman Morgan Griffith’s office), Rhonda VanDyke (Program Dir. PTAC at SWCC)

GRUNDY, VA — The much-anticipated Southern Gap Transportation and Logistics Center (SGTLC) formally opened on Friday, October 15th, with many local, regional, and statewide leaders and employers in attendance for the opening ceremony.  The new workforce training center will offer transportation, logistics, and other in-demand workforce training to support the area’s workforce needs and support economic development in southwest Virginia.

Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC), in partnership with Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA), and the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), came together to make the $5.7 million-dollar project happen.  “Workforce training is a fast-growing segment of our educational services at SWCC, and we’re dedicated to serving the entire region with all our educational services. This project is another great example of that dedication, but also of the region’s commitment to workforce development”, stated Dr. Tommy Wright, president of SWCC.

SWCC will be operating the center through a lease with the IDA, who owns the facility. 

The 23,000 square foot state-of-the-art training center in the Southern Gap area of Buchanan County, and is near to the Town of Grundy, the outdoor adventure visitor’s center, elk restoration area, Spearhead Trails, area manufacturers, and other future economic development sites.  Classrooms, a large multi-purpose training bay, library, visitors services space, and offices for SWCC staff and faculty, and partners, are included in the building layout.  “It’s an impressive workforce training facility that once again demonstrates our proactive approach to regional economic development in the region”, noted Jonathan Belcher, executive director of VCEDA.   Funding for construction, equipment, and start-up operations were provided primarily by the VCEDA to make the project possible.

Transportation and logistics workforce training programs that will be offered at the center include Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Diesel Tech Program, and American Welding Society (AWS) welding training.  All training programs can be completed by students in weeks, not semesters or years, to help local employers with the current demand for workers.  Most Virginia residents who participate in qualified training at the center will be eligible for full or some level of tuition assistance through state, local, or private-sector funding sources and contributions.

The SGTLC is located in one of Buchanan County’s premier economic development regions known as Southern Gap.  Other key economic development infrastructure such as the area’s airport, industrial sites, housing, and visitor services are already in place in the area, and new highway infrastructure, public school buildings, and other infrastructure are anticipated in the coming years. “This training center is all part of the county’s larger plan to develop this area to improve education and career opportunities, but also present leisure and recreation opportunities for our residents”, said Matthew Fields, Director of Tourism for Buchanan County. 

The Center is currently offering commercial drivers license and welding/manufacturing training.  Diesel tech and other training is anticipated to start in early 2022.  Interested individuals can call 276-964-7528 to learn more about upcoming training opportunities.

Southwest Virginia Community College serves Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell, and parts of Dickenson County, and is dedicated to being the region’s premier workforce solutions and training provider, serving the college’s service region since 1968. The Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority’s mission is to foster the economic growth of Buchanan County, and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has worked since 1988 to enhance and diversity the economic base of the larger southwest Virginia region, helping create more than 20,000 new jobs for the area.

For more information:

Angela Farmer
Manager of the Southern Gap Transportation & Logistics Center / SWCC
276-964-7343  /  angela.farmer@sw.edu

Matthew Fields
Director of Tourism and Economic Development – Buchanan County IDA
276-312-5033 /  matthew.fields@buchanancounty-va.gov

Jonathan Belcher
Executive Director – VCEDA
276-889-0381 /  jonathan@vceda.us

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