Richmond, VA—This week the state’s Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board (GO Virginia), approved $274,980 in funding proposed by Region 2, to support completion of an Additive Manufacturing Partnership Lab at Liberty University’s Center for Energy Research and Education (CERE) in Bedford County. This grant leverages $630,000 additional contributions from the public and private sector.

The General Assembly passed legislation creating GO Virginia in 2016. Business, civic, and educational leaders from across the region came together to form the Region 2 GO Virginia Council. To date the council has supported $1,682,980 in collaborative projects, leveraging $5,078,441 in additional investments that create higher paying jobs in the region to grow and diversify our economy.

The grant will help with the construction of an additional lab at CERE to support additive manufacturing in the region. Additive manufacturing describes the technologies involved in building 3D objects by adding layers of materials onto one another. In the proposed facility, the systems would be capable of nylon, carbon fiber, polymeric, metallic, and ceramic material systems, as well as prototyping other techniques.

Liberty University (LU), in collaboration with The Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER), Central Virginia Community College (CVCC), the XLR8 STEM Academy, local partners BWX Technologies, Campbell County, Bedford County, and additional localities through the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance seek to educate the regional workforce on additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing represents the future in advanced manufacturing with applications in many industries.

Dr. Raymond Smoot, Chair of Union Bank who leads the regional council, commended Liberty and its partners. “We appreciate the partnership between education, industry, and government that came together for this project. Collaborations like these, in support of advanced industries, provide the foundations for a stronger economy across our region” Smoot said.  

Liberty University has previously received $300,000 in GO Virginia funds. Liberty will construct four other labs at CERE to offer regional companies and higher education institutions, a space for research and development within the region.

With support from regional manufacturers and work-based learning opportunities with industry partners, this project will prepare a workforce to be competitive in an ever changing industry.