The Lynchburg Region is an excellent place to work or own a business, according to Forbes 2017 rankings. The Region took 80th spot among the “200 Best Small Places for Businesses and Careers” list and stands out for its well-educated work force, low unemployment, and low cost of doing business.
Approximately 87 percent of the Region’s population are high school graduates, while 27 percent hold bachelor’s degrees, and 10 percent have graduate degrees.
Central Virginia Community College leads the way in providing local business and industry with educational and training opportunities:
• The CVCC Small Business Development Center is an effective provider of customized counseling and education for small businesses in the Region. The center offers private sessions with a business counselor to discuss individual issues as well as group training such as the popular Lunch to Learn series with in-depth presentations on critical management topics.
• The FastForward program provides career training and professional development through intensive, short-term training opportunities in a variety of technical fields. Online training programs and shorter classes help employees improve skills in their current careers.
• Youth Pipeline programs help area employers “fill the pipeline” of future workers by offering programs for area youth such as Summer Academies and Framatome’s Summer Institute for Technology and Engineering.
The Lynchburg Regional Technology Council serves as a regional connector, catalyst, and advocate for a dynamic technology workforce, innovative business environment, and collaborative community culture through networking, training, advocacy, youth outreach, and an increased focus on tech-based entrepreneurship.
The Future Focus Foundation, created by the Council, partners with local colleges, employers, and non-profit organizations to offer STEM programs that engage the Region’s youth. Initiatives include a technology fair, summer career academies, a regional science fair, summer internships and introductory programs in robotics.
The Lynchburg Governor’s Regional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Academy, located at Central Virginia Community College, provides 11th and 12th grade students with 21st-century, STEM-enriched technological skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in postsecondary education and in the workplace.
Technical and vocational schools offer specialized training to high school students:
• The Bedford Science and Technology Center offers career and technical courses not offered at the county’s three high schools. All courses and programs offered can lead to a state or national license or industry certification.
• The Campbell County Technical Center, a part of Campbell County Public Schools, offers vocational and technical education as well as GED courses.
• The Virginia Technical Institute (VTI) in Altavista provides hands-on training in the areas of electrical, plumbing, heating and air, welding, carpentry, and industrial maintenance. VTI hosts an annual trades expo where trade-related companies and high school students are invited to tour VTI and network with each other.
Lynchburg is a TechHire Community, a national initiative that provides a path to expand training opportunities that prepare under-skilled workers for careers in middle and high skill jobs. The Lynchburg Office of Economic Development has partnered with 15 employers to offer paid training and apprenticeships to TechHire participants. Lynchburg has an abundance of job opportunities in information technology, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare technology.
The nonprofit Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER) creates partnership between engineering, high-tech industries, university researchers, and research and development centers. The CAER navigates tech start-ups through the entrepreneur process.