Advanced Manufacturing



Virginia’s Gateway Region (VGR) boasts a strong manufacturing heritage, providing some of today’s largest companies with a highly skilled workforce and unique assets specific to the region, such as the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The region is well-suited for a number of advanced manufacturing subsets from industrial, chemicals and pharmaceutical, to food and natural products. In 2020, Phlow Corporation announced its partnership with Petersburg-based AMPAC Fine Chemicals, through a $354 million federal government fund for advanced manufacturing and rapid production of America’s most essential medicines at risk of shortage, including ingredients for pharmaceuticals for the COVID-19 pandemic response. This project not only has the possibility of becoming a pharmaceutical cluster for the Gateway Region, but for the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole.

  • AMPAC Fine Chemicals’ fully current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) compliant facility in Petersburg specializes in process development, scale-up and production from kilograms to multi-ton quantities.
  • 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.
  • Connect with customers and suppliers via numerous local and national freight carriers, hubs and intermodal facilities, as well as international seaports and airports.
  • Redundant electric capable sites and buildings with growing natural gas capacity. Search sites & buildings.
  • Research and development center and attached agriculture extension maximizes access to local farmers and crop development for local sourcing.
  • Local military training facility produces chefs, logisticians and equipment operators for the U.S. Army.
  • Grant for food and natural product manufacturers sourcing 30% of materials from Virginia.
  • Strategic East Coast midpoint location to reach 41 percent of the U.S. population in a day, with multi-modal connections to suppliers, distributors and retailers via numerous national freight carriers, shipping hubs and intermodal facilities. Learn more
  • Explore Interactive Map of VGR.



  • Approximately 300 highly-regarded mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineer and technician degrees are awarded annually in workforce area (3,500 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 40,000 manufacturing employees and boosts specializations or competitive advantages in Advanced Manufacturing industry-sectors.
  • Top Industry-Sectors

    Industry (NAICS) Employment Location Quotient
    All other Basic Organic Chemical Manufacturing (325199) 792 49.13
    Farm Product warehousing and Storage (493130) 398 89.54
    Aircraft Engine and Engine Parts Manufacturing (336412) 309 8.38
    Animal Production (Proprietors) (112001) 135 0.75
    Unlaminated Plastics Film and Sheet (except packaging) manufacturing (326115) 287 18.04
    Ball and Roller Bearing Manufacturing (332991) 282 26.73
    Surface Active Agent Manufacturing (325613) 250 122.02
    Plastics Material and Resin Manufacturing (325211) 147 6.02

    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 2019 (preliminary estimates excluded).



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.

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. The local workforce development partnership provides customized training for industry partners on campus or on site at your facility. For example, CCWA has worked with…

John Tyler Community College’s Precision Machining Program: 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.

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 4 national public university has more than 2,000 undergraduate and close to 1,000 graduate engineering students with 11 different engineering programs and four off-campus collaborative programs, including Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Science, Technology and Society Engineering.

Virginia Tech (VT): 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 15 total undergraduate engineering degrees. The university’s department of Food Science and Technology offers undergraduate students state-of-the-art research programs including the Food and Analysis Laboratory and the Packaging and Processing Pilot Plant.

Fort Lee: The local major military training base, along with other area military posts, produces 600+ veterans exiting the military locally each year. Over 50% specialize in logistics and order fulfillment, culinary skills and equipment operations as well as maintenance. Fort Lee is the primary national training facility for these skills in the military, and there are growing programs to assist veterans in transitioning to employment after their service ends.



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. VSU has an enrollment of about 300 students in these degree programs and typically graduates about 50 students each year.

The university’s Food Safety & Microbiology Program and its research aim to improve the safety and quality of our nation’s food supply and increase knowledge about the microbial ecology of contamination routes through on-farm investigations, post-harvest incident tracking, food processing and distribution of foods. The program also evaluates methods and approaches to better prevent, intervene and verify the presence of food-borne pathogens from the farm to the dinner table. The program delivers hands-on laboratory training on current and emerging issues to students in agricultural and biological sciences. A strong emphasis is placed on studying fresh and specialty foods to benefit producers with limited resources.

Logistics and Food Production Programs include Degrees in Logistics and Industrial Technology and Manufacturing Engineering, grooming the next generation in the workforce. The VSU curriculum is shaped by an industry-based advisory board that ensures program content program translates into applicable workforce experience. Lab, research and coursework address high-speed packaging and processing and relevant control systems.

The Agricultural Research Station conducts research in partnership with companies to refine crop production Virginia, most recently working with Sabra’s research center of excellence to develop strains of chickpeas and sesame that are ideally suited to Virginia’s climate. Also working on hop strains for local craft brewers.

The local Virginia Cooperative Extension unifies information resources and networks for farmers, food scientists and researchers, and companies, as part of a statewide organization. Education opportunities for youth, family and professionals attract a consistent visitation and participation by area farmers, production workers and visitors.