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Gov. Terry McAuliffe joined state and local leaders today in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Danville Public Schools’ new precision machining program. The lab is located at George Washington High School on Broad Street in Danville.
McAuliffe called the lab “truly extraordinary.”
“What we are doing here today at George Washington High School is truly extraordinary,” McAuliffe said. “These students in the first year of the program are leading the way. …. I want to congratulate all of you here today for what you have done for Danville.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stanley B. Jones called the program a historic investment.
“This program honors our community’s past success as a manufacturing hub while demonstrating our resolve to create the future we believe in for our students,” Jones said. “A 21st century learning environment should be nearly identical to an industry work environment such that our students are truly prepared to begin their careers.”
The program is modeled after the one in place at Danville Community College and will serve as a feeder for high school students who want to continue their studies at the community college or another institution.
Secretary of Trade and Commerce Todd Haymore, who joined the governor for today’s ceremony, said he was proud to see his high school alma mater take steps to prepare students to become successful members of today’s workforce.
“Machinists are in demand around the world, and the fact that Danville and Pittsylvania County have creatively addressed ways to meet that demand provides a valuable workforce development pipeline and an avenue for economic prosperity in my childhood home,” Haymore said. “My thanks to everyone who worked to bring this program to fruition.”
In 2014, Danville Public Schools began collaborating with Danville Community College and the Danville Office of Economic Development Office to establish a precision machining program within Danville Public Schools. It became clear that this opportunity would be a significant one to help prepare students for real-world career training for high-paying jobs in a fast-growing market. Students will learn to operate some of the most high-tech equipment in the world, acquiring skills they will need to work for some of the cutting-edge industries across the nation.
With funding allocated by City Council and the J.T. – Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, renovations began at George Washington High School to convert existing classroom spaces into a new, state-of-the art precision machining lab. On Aug. 9, Danville Public Schools welcomed the first students into this program. Students will complete two years of training in high school and transition to Danville Community College to finish their degree.
Dr. Bruce Scism, president of the community college, applauded the team effort to make the program at the high school a reality.
“As a community and region, we have demonstrated that by coming together and working in unison of purpose and spirit we can change and improve the economic climate and advance prosperity and quality of life for our citizens and our children,” Scism said. “I am honored to be a part of this effort and grateful for all that has been accomplished as a team.”