June 21, 2012

The Dan River Region Collaborative has been selected to receive a $32,352 grant to support manufacturing jobs in the Dan River Region, according to Project Director Julie J. Brown.

 

The project, which is being supported by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and The Boeing Company, will support on-the-job training opportunities for new hires within the manufacturing sector.

 

“The labor-intense style of manufacturing has been replaced with new production methods, requiring workers to use computers, higher level mathematical skills, and a team-centered approach,” commented Brown in discussing the importance of the grant. “While many of these skills can be attained through the region’s community colleges, workers must often learn to use a specific piece of machinery once hired and embrace a work culture that may be very different from their previous experiences.”

 

The Collaborative’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership was formed in September 2011 to address the region’s changing workforce needs. Currently, 19 companies participate in the partnership, which continues to expand. The Collaborative has initially partnered with two companies for the grant opportunity: Amthor International and Intertape Polymer Group (IPG), Inc. Both companies anticipate new hires within the next three months.

 

“Amthor will significantly benefit from this project as we hope to recruit and train 30-40 employees for production, manufacturing, and assembly. The OJT funds will be used to provide welding, mechanical, and electrical training for our new employees,” according to Brian Amthor, Marketing and H.R. Director for Amthor International.

 

Amthor is the nation’s largest and most diverse manufacturer of truck-mounted tanks, which includes uses for the vacuum and septic, portable restroom, propane, water, refined fuel, well drilling, and construction industries. Located in Gretna, Amthor currently employs 74 individuals.

 

“IPG, Inc. anticipates hiring several new plant assistants whose responsibilities include working safely with machine operators to insure the quality and quantity of the final product meets expectations,” commented Carl Shoemaker, HR Director for the IPG, Inc. Danville plant. “Because of the skills required in this position, the OJT funds will be invaluable as they help us to better prepare workers in the areas of safety, ERP, forklift, product quality standards, ISO 9001 and 14001, and specific machine training,” he added.

 

Intertape Polymer Group Inc. is a recognized leader in the development and manufacture of specialized polyolefin plastic and paper based packaging products and complementary packaging systems for industrial and retail use. Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec and Sarasota / Bradenton, Florida, the company employs approximately 2,000 employees with operations in 12 locations, including 10 manufacturing facilities in North America and one in Europe. They employ 283 individuals at the Danville facility.

 

If Amthor and Intertape are unable to hire the anticipated number of entry level workers within the established time frame, the Collaborative will identify additional employers who may be willing to participate and meet the grant requirements.

 

The Dan River Region Collaborative, which was formed in the summer of 2008, serves approximately 150,000 people in Pittsylvania, Halifax, Henry, and Patrick counties and the cities of Danville and Martinsville. The Collaborative is supported by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions which utilizes a dual-customer effort through investments in organizing employers, creating workforce partnerships, and advocating for public policies and private practices that make businesses more competitive and workers more likely to earn family-sustaining wages. The Collaborative invests in worker skills and key regional industries. The Collaborative is a catalyst for generating additional investments in creating sectoral workforce partnerships, training workers, and improving workforce practices.

 

As a regional funding entity, the Collaborative’s key funding partners, to date, include The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, The Danville Regional Foundation, The Harvest Foundation, J.T.-Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, and the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

 

The National Fund is spearheaded by a group of leading foundations across the United States, along with a major corporation and a leading federal government agency, including Chase, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, Microsoft, One Boeing Fund, Open Society Foundations, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Corporation for National and Community Service, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The Hitachi Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Prudential Foundation, The Social Innovation Fund, and The Walmart Foundation. Additionally, national partnerships have been established with Jobs for the Future and the Council on Foundations.

 

NFWS has historically worked with collaboratives in large, metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Realizing that workforce challenges impact rural communities differently than urban settings, they sought to develop rural collaborative models to support. The Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) was initiated in the summer of 2008 and received its initial acceptance into the National Fund in the fall of 2008.