The U.S. Navy’s Advanced Training Defense Manufacturing program in Danville will soon be able to train even more students thanks to a new 100,000-square-foot facility that is breaking ground Wednesday.
The groundbreaking coincides with the Institute of Advanced Learning and Research’s third ATDM summit.
The new facility, called the Regional Training Center, will train 800 to 1,000 students per year in accelerated four-month programs to help fill critical vacancies across the defense industry.
The ATDM program will prepare students for positions in additive manufacturing, CNC machining, no-destructive testing, quality control inspection and welding. These students will also be able to reskill or upskill for high-paying jobs through the ATDM program.
The center is expected to open in early 2025, with construction lasting about a year, said Rachel Spencer, vice president of strategic communications at Roanoke-based marketing and advertising firm AccessU, which helped coordinate the event.
Navy officials and government and industry leaders will be at the Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence, adjacent to the IALR’s Center for Manufacturing Advancement in Danville, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday for the groundbreaking ceremony.
U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, who was the keynote speaker at last year’s ATDM summit, will offer remarks again this year.
A Navy memorial site will also be unveiled during the summit. Parts from two decommissioned submarines have been transferred to IALR to be placed on display: the sail of the Ex-USS Buffalo and the rudder of the Ex-USS Providence.
Both of these vessels were nuclear-powered attack submarines that were commissioned in 1985. The USS Buffalo was decommissioned in 2019 and the USS Providence in 2021.
In September 2022, the Navy approved transfer of these parts to the IALR.
The memorial will “preserve and commemorate the history of these submarines and honor the service of their crews,” according to information sent by Spencer. “This also demonstrates the strong partnership between the Navy and Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing” program.