Education & Training

Southern Virginia provides businesses with access and talent from some of the nations finest colleges, universities, and training programs.

Public Colleges and Universities

Several of Virginia’s four-year public colleges and universities offer higher education opportunities in the region through campus or satellite locations. These colleges and universities include:

  • Longwood University
  • Radford University
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • Virginia State University
  • Virginia Tech

Private Colleges and Universities

Many private colleges and universities also operate in the region, including:

  • Averett University
  • Hampden-Sydney College
  • Liberty University
  • Lynchburg College
  • University of Richmond
  • Virginia Union University
  • Washington and Lee University

Community Colleges

Virginia’s Community College System is among the best in the country, with 23 colleges on 40 campuses across the Commonwealth.  In addition to traditional two-year degree programs, the community colleges provide much of the vocational and technical training for the region’s workforce.

Community colleges in the Southern Virginia include:

  • Central Virginia Community College
  • Danville Community College
  • John Tyler Community College
  • Patrick Henry Community College
  • Southside Virginia Community College
  • Thomas Nelson Community College
  • Virginia Western Community College

Training and Workforce Development

A number of workforce development facilities can be found in the region, including several career and technical centers operated by area school systems or private entities. Industry and academic collaborations have been a significant part of the region’s success, particularly in recent years.

Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM)

The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) is an applied research center that bridges the gap between fundamental research typically performed at universities, and product development routinely performed by companies. With three of Virginia’s leading academic institutions directly involved since CCAM’s inception – University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University — the Center accelerates the transition of research innovation from the laboratory to commercial use.

As a Global Center of Excellence in advanced manufacturing research, specifically manufacturing systems and surface engineering, CCAM is the only collaboration of its kind in North America and promises its member companies significant business benefits. By pooling resources to pursue university research authorized by member companies, CCAM increases the value of the R&D dollar.  Members jointly share both R&D risks and costs; however, research results are also made available to all members, allowing each company to capitalize on new, breakthrough developments that emerge from CCAM research.

Learn more about CCAM here.

Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER)

The Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER) is a multi-jurisdictional initiative to develop an industry-focused, regional research and development center.  The Center’s mission is to drive the development of innovative products and processes by providing local access to university and federal research and inventions. It targets the growth industries specific to the region and puts university innovations into action through practical implementation in industry. The goal is to increase the competitiveness for core, high-wage industries and improve the long-term prospects of existing industrial employers by creating a knowledge-based research hub for the region.

Learn more about CAER here.

Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR)

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) engages in research, education and conferencing to achieve economic development.  This is accomplished by focusing on discovery of marketable innovation, preparing tomorrow’s workforce, and helping entrepreneurs, growers and educators become better connected and more effective.

Research at the Institute involves renewable resources, agriculture and horticulture, sustainable chemistry, and polymers and composites. Advanced learning spans K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs; graduate and post-graduate research; professional development for educators; and lifelong learning. The Institute also operates a full-service conference center used by residents of Southern Virginia and surrounded areas for meetings, events and dining.

The Institute develops and attracts technology and talent critical to Southern Virginia’s economic prosperity to enable economic and community transformation in the region. Founded in 2002, IALR is as a subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Learn more about IALR here.



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