Advanced Manufacturing

From Emulsifiers to Aero Engines

The Gateway Region boasts a strong manufacturing heritage, providing some of today’s largest companies with a highly-skilled workforce and unique assets specific to the Gateway Region, such as the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

  • Concentration of existing employers and expertise for metal fabrication and advanced chemicals and materials production
  • Workforce training and education institutions have apprenticeships and degree programs to train employees on in-house machinery
  • High Tech R&D Center for advanced manufacturing produces patents and apprentices
  • Strategic East Coast midpoint location to reach 41 percent of the U.S. population in a day Learn more
  • Connect with customers and suppliers via numerous local and national freight carriers, hubs and intermodal facilities, and international seaports and airports.
  • Redundant electric capable sites and buildings with growing natural gas capacity. Search sites & buildings


  • More than 200 highly-regarded mechanical and electrical engineer and technician degrees are awarded annually in workforce area (2,000 in the state).
  • More than 600 highly trained and disciplined veterans exit the military from the area military posts, with training in logistics, welding, precision machining, machinery operation and repair, and other fields.
  • The workforce area counts more than 39,000 manufacturing employees and boosts specializations or competitive advantages in Advanced Manufacturing industry-sectors.

  • Top Industry-Sectors

    Industry (NAICS) Workforce Area Employment Location Quotient
    Artificial Synthetic Fibers and Filaments Manufacturing (325220) 2,441 20.42
    Air-Conditioning and Warm Air Heating Equipment and Commercial and Industrial Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturing (333415) 1,084 2.57
    All Other Basic Organic Chemical Manufacturing (325199) 836 4.47
    Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing (325412) 723 0.74
    Machine Shops (332710) 589 0.42
    Power Boiler and Heat Exchanger Manufacturing (332410) 529 5.41
    Switchgear and Switchboard Apparatus Manufacturing (335313) 488 2.97
    Showcase, Partition, Shelving, and Locker Manufacturing (337215) 471 2.17
    Total Advanced Manufacturing Cluster 17,746

    Note: A Location Quotient (LQ) is a statistical measure indicating the industrial specialization of a region compared to a larger geographic area (the nation in this case). By formula, the LQ measures the region’s industry share of total employment to the nation’s share of total employment for the same industry. An LQ greater than 1.00 indicates that the region has a higher industry concentration than the nation. Source: JobsEQ, Second Quarter of 2018 (preliminary estimates excluded).

  • Top Employers

    Company Product Description Employees
    DuPont Kevlar, Yuvek, Nomex, Teflon 2,376
    AdvanSix Chemicals, fibers and R&D center 1,177
    General Electric (Alstom Power) Power generation turbines 928
    Evonik Specialty chemicals 300
    Rolls-Royce North America Disks/blades for aircraft engines 300
    Ashland Specialty chemicals 254

    Source: Virginia’s Gateway Region’s internal database, 2018.

  • Sample Occupations

    Occupation Title (SOC) Workforce Area Average Annual Wage National Average Annual Wage Workforce Area Employment Workforce Area Extended Employment
    Industrial Production Managers (11-3051) $132,500 $110,600 604 13,905
    Mechanical Engineers (17-2141) $95,700 $91,500 856 2,197
    Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic (51-4011) $36,600 $41,000 192 1,440
    Machinists (51-4041) $47,300 $44,200 919 3,516
    Production Workers (51-9199) $30,500 $32,900 1,148 n/a
    Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators (53-7051) $36,100 $35,400 3,654 21,676

    Note: Extended employment includes trainable persons currently employed in occupations with similar skills to the specified occupation. Source: JobsEQ, Second Quarter of 2018 (preliminary estimates excluded).

Workforce Development

Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM): A state-of-the-art collaborative R&D facility at which Virginia’s top research and teaching institutions work with leading industry partners. Their goal is to shorten the transition from research to commercialized innovations. CCAM houses the graduate students and engineering faculty from highly-regarded Virginia universities to conduct research in cooperation with CCAM member companies like Canon, Newport News Shipbuilding, Rolls-Royce, Siemens and more. Research topics range from surface engineering and manufacturing systems to 3D additive manufacturing and composite materials development.

Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy Center (AMAAC): This under-development academy will train students high school and older in advanced technology fields such as advanced manufacturing, data analytics, bioscience and information technology. The academy is expected to open in 2018 and will have four additional locations in the state, supplementing the highly trained workforce produced from the primary location in the region.

Manufacturing Skills Certification: This industry certification system is designed to facilitate the workforce needs of advanced manufacturing and technology employers in Virginia. After training and assessment delivered on-site or at an education institution, the MSI awards certifications for Manufacturing Technicians or Specialists, indicating readiness for employment in advanced manufacturing and building skills in precision machining, systems and processes, machine programming, CAD, precision measurement, machine troubleshooting and maintenance, and more.X

Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA): Supports local companies with job fairs, customizable employee assessments, specialized trainings and convenient access to many locations. Working collaboratively with the Apprentice and Employee Development Center, companies create individualized programs of study or fast-tracked certificate programs that feature classes tooled directly to company needs.

John Tyler Community College’s Precision Machining Program is accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills. In 2011, Rolls-Royce was the first of several companies to donate specialized machinery to the program to train local employment candidates directly on modern company machinery. The program allows students to develop hands-on expertise that is directly applicable to advanced manufacturing systems across many different industries.

Virginia State University (VSU): Has a strong Department of Engineering and Technology with accredited programs in Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial and Logistics Technology. VSU typically graduates over 1,000 students with degrees in engineering, science and technology each year.

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU): Has undergraduate and graduate engineering programs with heavy research emphasis, especially in biomedical, chemicals, life science computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering, and computer science. There are over 1,500 undergraduate and 250 graduate engineering students enrolled each year. VCU also coordinates a statewide partnership that allows students to take graduate courses in 14 additional engineering fields offered on other campuses.

The University of Virginia (UVA): Located an hour away in Charlottesville, UVA is an important workforce source for the region due to R&D and corporate partnerships in the area. The top 5 national public university has 2,300 undergraduate and 600 graduate engineering students with 10 different engineering programs and four off-campus collaborative programs, including Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Science, Technology and Society Engineering.

Virginia Tech: Also located outside the region and sending students annually to area employers, the university’s Industrial and Systems Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Biological Systems Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering programs consistently rank in the top 10 nationally. Aerospace and Science and Mechanics are additional programs offered among the 14 total undergraduate engineering degrees.