Recent News – Bedford County Economic Development https://www.bedfordeconomicdevelopment.com Office of Economic Development Mon, 09 Sep 2019 18:52:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 Bedford County Celebrates 10th Anniversary of its Bedford ONE Program /bedford-county-celebrates-10th-anniversary-of-its-bedford-one-program/ Mon, 09 Sep 2019 18:49:21 +0000 /?p=5840 Bedford County celebrates 10 years of connecting local businesses with a young workforce through its Bedford ONE (Offering New Experiences) program. The Bedford ONE program was implemented in 2009 after an Office of Economic Development Roundtable meeting where local business leaders addressed the growing need for a qualified workforce. Since then, more than 4,000 high […]

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]]> Bedford County celebrates 10 years of connecting local businesses with a young workforce through its Bedford ONE (Offering New Experiences) program. The Bedford ONE program was implemented in 2009 after an Office of Economic Development Roundtable meeting where local business leaders addressed the growing need for a qualified workforce. Since then, more than 4,000 high school students have toured area companies through a partnership between the Bedford County Office of Economic Development, Bedford County Public Schools, and area businesses. Through these industry tours, students are able to hear from companies about job opportunities as well as education and training needs for various careers.

“We welcome the students who tour our facility because it gives us a chance to talk directly to our future potential workforce,” said Steve Morris, Director of Finance & Operations at Valtim in Forest. “We show them the different types of machinery we use and talk about the skills we are looking for in employees.”

“Participating in the Bedford One program allows Blue Ridge Optics to introduce local students to an important and rapidly growing industry”, says Justin Siehen, General Manager of Blue Ridge Optics. “Students experience first-hand how optics are manufactured for some of the most exotic and exciting applications in the world, ranging from Defense, Aerospace, Research and Medicine, to items they recognize and use every day. By doing so, we hope to wake their interest in our field and steer them towards related educational and career opportunities. We also hope that some of the participants may one day take advantage of our internship program or perhaps even permanently join our team.”

An advisory committee is headed up by the Bedford County Office of Economic Development staff and comprised of officials from local companies, Bedford County Public Schools, the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, and Central Virginia Community College, including career coaches from Jefferson Forest High School, Liberty High School and Staunton River High School, and volunteers from local companies.

“It is our goal to increase awareness for students who may not know of the diversity of career opportunities that we have in our region”, said Pam Bailey who coordinates the tours. “Our surveys indicate that students who participate in these tours are more likely to stay or return to work in Bedford County following post-high school education.”

Tours this year so far are scheduled at Bedford Regional Water Authority, Bedford Solar Farm, The Landing restaurant, Liberty University School of Aeronautics, L3Harris, Liberty University Center for Engineering Research and Education. Other tours are being planned at other local companies such as Sentry Equipment, Custom Truck, Framatome, Centra, and US Pipe, to name a few.

If you know a company that would like to host a tour for 20 – 40 high school students, please contact Pam Bailey in the Bedford County Office of Economic Development at pbailey@bedfordcountyva.gov or call 540-587-5670.

 

 

 

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September marks the National Workforce Development Month /september-marks-the-national-workforce-development-month/ Fri, 06 Sep 2019 18:25:43 +0000 /?p=5853 September is National Workforce Development Month which highlights the important role that Career and Technical Education (CTE) plays in the workforce development Eco system.

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September is National Workforce Development Month which highlights the important role that Career and Technical Education (CTE) plays in the workforce development ecosystem.

Bedford County Office of Economic Development works diligently to partner with local businesses, Bedford County Public Schools, and Central Virginia Community College to connect our workforce with training programs and career exploration opportunities. Our Bedford ONE program is in its 10th year this year and since its inception, more than 4,000 high school students have toured area companies through these partnerships.

Programs such as CVCC’s XLR8 STEM Academy, and The Future Focus Foundation are important to our region’s future workforce. The STEM Academy’s curriculum is geared toward cultivating student interested in engineering, mechatronics, and biomedical sciences through project-based learning to prepare them for real-world challenges.

Bedford County Public Schools offers a Career Internship Program for high school seniors. Students receive workplace readiness instruction through an instructor and participate in a three-hour per week internship at a local business. For more information about the Internship program, contact Bedford County Public Schools or visit the website.

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According to the CTE Policy Watch website, a bi-partisan resolution introduced by United States Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Todd Young (R-IN), recognizes the growing skills gap and supports the promotion of federal workforce development investments to ensure our economic competitiveness in the 21st century economy. Read the full resolution here.

 

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Legacy Cider to invest $300,000 to establish new hard cider production facility /legacy-cider-to-invest-300000-to-establish-new-hard-cider-production-facility/ Mon, 12 Aug 2019 16:52:35 +0000 /?p=5828 Legacy Cider will invest $300,000 to establish a new hard cider production facility in Bedford County.

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Governor Ralph Northam on Friday, August 9, 2019 announced that Legacy Cider will invest $300,000 to establish a new hard cider production facility in Bedford County. Located on-site with the owners’ craft brewery Apocalypse Ale Works, the addition will also include improvements to the existing taproom and biergarten. Over the next three years, Legacy Cider will create five new jobs and purchase $146,000, or 12,150 bushels, of Virginia-grown apples, 100 percent of anticipated agricultural purchases.

“Legacy Cider’s new operation in Bedford County will further strengthen Virginia’s position as a top pick for artisanal ciders,” said Governor Northam. “This investment from Legacy Cider and their commitment to using 100 percent Virginia apples supports the Commonwealth’s farmers, who are at the core of our thriving craft beverage industry, and highlights the growing connection between agriculture and tourism in Virginia.”

In 2013, the John family opened Apocalypse Ale Works in Forest, and it became the first craft beverage attraction in Bedford County. Building on their success, the owners recently planted apple trees and acquired a Virginia Farm Winery license to establish Legacy Cider, which will produce a variety of traditional and innovative ciders made with 100 percent Virginia apples.

“This exciting announcement highlights continued success in Virginia’s craft beverage industry and the growing connection between agriculture and tourism,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am pleased that the Commonwealth could partner with Legacy Cider and the locality through the AFID program to support the first award in Bedford County.”

“We are incredibly excited to announce our plans to open Bedford County’s first craft cidery,” said the John family, owners of Legacy Cider and Apocalypse Ale Works. “Legacy Cider will be a hard cidery attached to Apocalypse Ale Works’ existing production facility and tasting room. The heart of Virginia has some of the most talented farmers and fertile farmland in the world, so we could not be more excited to take full advantage of this opportunity and produce world-class cider featuring exclusively Virginian apples.”

The Commonwealth is partnering with Bedford County and Legacy Cider on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). Governor Northam approved a $12,000 grant from the AFID Fund to secure the project for Virginia, which Bedford County will match with local funds.

“We have such a rich history of orchard production in Bedford County and it’s exciting that Legacy Cider is building on that tradition by sourcing produce from local and regional orchards,” said Chairman of the Bedford County Economic Development Authority Mickey Johnson. “This project makes a significant economic and tourism impact and also promotes a promising local agribusiness network.”

“By choosing to expand its existing facility after six successful years in Forest, Apocalypse Ale Works reaffirms that Bedford County is a great place to open, build, and grow a prosperous business,” said Delegate Kathy J. Byron. “Legacy Cider is an expansion that not only will create jobs, but also will use Virginia apples in producing a quality product. Clearly, the John family is committed to Virginia.”

“Congratulations to Legacy Cider on the exciting plans to open Bedford County’s first craft cidery,” said Senator Steve Newman. “We are delighted that over the next three years, five new jobs will be created and $146,000, of Virginia-grown apples, will be purchased. We wish them much continued success and we congratulate Bedford County, Legacy Cider, and our local government team who have worked hard to make Virginia thrive.”

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Kaelyn Wright of Moneta honored in Top 25 Millennials on the Move /kaelyn-wright-of-moneta-honored-in-top-25-millennials-on-the-move/ Mon, 12 Aug 2019 14:53:56 +0000 /?p=5823 Kaelyn Wright, a 4th generation cattle farmer in Moneta, was selected in the top 25 millennial professionals in the region at an awards ceremony held at the Glass House in Lynchburg on August 1.

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The Bedford County Office of Economic was proud to nominate a local young farmer for the region’s top ‘Millennials on the Move’.

At just 23 years old, Kaelyn Wright, a 4th generation cattle farmer in Moneta, was selected in the top 25 millennial professionals in the region at an awards ceremony held at the Glass House in Lynchburg on August 1. Lynchburg Business Magazine hosted the Millennials on the Move event which celebrated the region’s top up-and-coming young professionals. The organizers recognized Wright for the outstanding work she is doing managing her businesses, Wright Bros. Fencing and Wright’s Bovine Reproductive Services, and for her community involvement, including the work she does teaching young people in FFA and other organizations.

Wright took over her family business, Wright Bros. Fencing and also pursued her certification in Artificial Insemination, Pregnancy Checking, and Herd Management before starting her own breeding business in Bedford County, Wright’s Bovine Reproductive Services. Through her management, the businesses continue to grow and she has presented to others at numerous events about farm management, quality fencing, or reproductive services on herds. She is also passionate about helping young people find quality careers in agriculture to help sustain the local community and she is involved in leading the youth group at her local church.

 

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Virginia regains No. 1 ranking by CNBC of best states for business /virginia-regains-no-1-ranking-by-cnbc-of-best-states-for-business/ Wed, 10 Jul 2019 16:10:40 +0000 /?p=5762 Virginia has regained its status as the best state in the country to do business in the annual CNBC rankings that placed state No. 1 for the first time in eight years.

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Richmond Times Dispatch – July 10, 2019

Virginia has regained its status as the best state in the country to do business in the annual CNBC rankings that placed the state No. 1 for the first time in eight years.

Gov. Ralph Northam extolled the coveted America’s Top States for Business ranking, announced Wednesday morning by financial news cable network CNBC at the Shenandoah River State Park near Front Royal.

“It’s going to be a really proud day for Virginia,” Northam said in an exclusive interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“It’s one thing to be Number 4 or Number 7,” the governor said, referring to Virginia’s ranking in the poll the past two years, “but to be Number 1 in the country is something for us all to be proud of.”

Recovering the top spot in the CNBC and other state rankings for business has been a top priority for Virginia under both Northam and his predecessor, Gov. Terry McAulliffe, after the state fell as low as 13th in 2016 after federal budget sequestration underscored the state’s over-dependence on defense spending.

Virginia was last ranked No. 1 by CNBC in 2011, after also holding the top spot in 2009 and 2007.

It declined to No. 3 in 2012, No. 5 in 2013, No. 8 in 2014, No. 12 in 2015 before reaching its nadir in 2016 at No. 13.

Virginia came in at No. 4 on last year’s list of the top states, and was ranked the seventh best place for business in 2017.

The governor credited the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, reformed in 2017 after a devastating critique by the General Assembly’s watchdog agency, and role of state legislators in vetting big economic development deals pursued by the executive branch.

“They have been a very large part of our economic development success,” he said.

Since taking office 18 months ago, Northam said the state has added $18.5 billion in new capital investment and created more than 50,000 jobs.

While much of that investment has focused in Northern Virginia and other population centers, the governor said his administration has sealed economic development deals that will bring $2.5 billion in capital investment and create more than 8,000 jobs in rural areas and economically distressed communities.

However, the biggest prizes have been the decision by Amazon to invest at least $2.5 billion and create at least 25,000 jobs at its new headquarters in Arlington County and by Micron Technologies to spend $3 billion to expand its semiconductor manufacturing plant in Manassas, with 1,100 additional jobs.

Virginia also has benefited from a boom in data center relocations and expansions, many of which have yet to be publicly announced because of confidentiality over proprietary information and national security concerns linked to their federal clients.

Those projects have helped to diversify the state’s economy, especially in Northern Virginia, which was hit hard by budget sequestration beginning in 2012.

Northam said nothing has been more important to Virginia’s success than improvements in workforce development, which relies on an education system that begins in K-12 and extends to community colleges and universities that are accelerating their efforts to expand the number of graduates with advanced technology degrees.

“We want to train talent, and then we want that talent to stay in Virginia,” he said.

The governor touted new investments in infrastructure projects, from broadband communications networks, expansion of the Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads, and plans to improve Interstates 95, 64 and 81.

The budget adopted this year includes an additional $15 million in state funding for broadband, which Northam said “has been well received in rural Virginia.”

The General Assembly also approved Northam’s plan this year for more than $2 billion in improvements to I-81, which extends 345 miles along the western spine of the state from the Shenandoah Valley through Southwest Virginia.

Northam also emphasized Virginia’s commitment to cultural diversity and inclusiveness, which he said businesses demand, along with competitively priced energy that increasingly relies on renewable resources such as wind and solar power.

The governor also touted the state’s AAA bond rating and much improved budget reserves, which he said have been fattened by more than $1 billion under his watch in working with Republican budget leaders in both chambers of the General Assembly.

“People look at Virginia as a business friendly state,” he said. “I think it’s very important we have our house in order.”

Full story at Richmond-Times Dispatch

mmartz@timesdispatch.com

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Q1 Cost of Living Lowest in Commonwealth /q1-cost-of-living-lowest-in-commonwealth/ Wed, 26 Jun 2019 20:46:28 +0000 /?p=5707 Cost of Living composite index was 87.8, compared to Roanoke 89.6, Richmond 93.0, and Charlottesville, 100.1.

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Bedford County is one of the localities that make up the Lynchburg Region which is also referred to as the Lynchburg Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance announced this week that our region’s Cost of Living composite index was 87.8, compared to Roanoke 89.6, Richmond 93.0, and Charlottesville, 100.1.

The Cost of Living Index is done quarterly and measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. The data makes the Lynchburg MSA attractive for millennial’s and businesses interested in locating to our region. The composite index is based on six component categories – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous goods and services.

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Bedford County to break ground on Tower and Fiber Optic Infrastructure /bedford-county-to-break-ground-on-tower-and-fiber-optic-infrastructure/ Fri, 14 Jun 2019 15:04:17 +0000 /?p=5672 By 2020, up to 95% of the county will have access to high-speed Internet service.

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For immediate release:
June 14, 2019

Contacts:
County – Robert Hiss, County Administrator, rhiss@bedfordcountyva.gov, (540) 586-7601 or Traci Blido, Economic Development Director, tblido@bedfordcountyva.gov, (540) 587-5670.

Blue Ridge Towers Installation & Briscnet Service – Anthony Smith, President, Blue Ridge Towers, asmith@blueridgetowers.com, (540) 915-7442.

Bedford County to break ground on Tower and Fiber Optic Infrastructure

By 2020, up to 95% of the county will have access to high-speed Internet service

Bedford, Virginia—Bedford County officials, in partnership with Blue Ridge Towers/Briscnet, will come together at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at Big Island Elementary School, to break ground on the first of 10 new communication towers and 21 miles of fiber optic cable to be constructed over the next six months.

The towers and fiber optic cable will help to bring high-speed Internet service to 95 percent of the unserved and underserved areas of the county over the next 12 months. The project is also expected to support homework needs for 6th-12th grade students who will use new Chromebook tablets being distributed this coming school year in Bedford County Public Schools. According to school leaders, the tablets will help address the “homework divide” that is discussed at length in national media for areas that are without high speed Internet.

“Our rural residents and businesses have been asking for broadband service to be extended for nearly a decade now and we are finally in a position to help make that happen,” said County Supervisor Andy Dooley. “High-speed Internet service is as important as electrical service in this day and age.”

The tower project will cost more than $3.5 million, with up to half of that amount covered by two state grants, a $1.04 million Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) grant from the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) and a $670,500 grant awarded last week from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC). The Bedford County Board of Supervisors set aside funds in fiscal year 2020 to support the remaining costs to complete the broadband buildout which is aimed at providing Internet access to county residents within a year.

Del. Kathy Byron, who chairs the Tobacco Commission’s R&D/Broadband Committee, said “Working collaboratively with the Tobacco Commission, Bedford has been an active and engaged partner in facilitating these important projects to extend broadband throughout the county,” she said. “Their willingness to engage and work cooperatively with the Commonwealth, the Commission, and the private sector providers will result in more people receiving the access they need.”

A parallel broadband project is running in the far Southern part of the County.  Comcast, in partnership with the County, applied for and received a $3.5 million “Last Mile Broadband Program” grant in 2018 from the Tobacco Commission.  Comcast committed to fund the remainder of the project and is planning to contribute more than $5.8 million to the project. The network expansion project to extend broadband service, as well as all Xfinity Services and the full suite of Comcast Business products and services to more than 7,000 addresses in Smith Mountain Lake, will begin rolling-out to parts of the area this month with an expected completion of the project by year-end.

The 10 new county towers are being erected in pre-studied, strategic locations throughout the county, along with two existing county towers—in Montvale and New London. The towers will be available to support Briscnet’s service rollout to unserved and underserved areas. These towers will be located in the following general locations: Big Island, Boonsboro, Wheats Valley, Huddleston, McGhee Road (Bedford town), Moneta, Hardy, Dumpling Mountain, and Shady Grove.

“This infrastructure will bring broadband to areas that have been unserved, wherever demand for service exists. The towers and 21 miles of fiber optic cable will provide a diversified platform for many different technologies,” said county consultant George N. Condyles, IV, President of the Atlantic Group and senior designer for the project. “Bedford will have multiple service providers that the public will be able to subscribe to, based on their need.”

A citizens advisory group, headed by Allen Boaz of Montvale, has been meeting for more than 10 years regarding this initiative and has proven instrumental in assisting staff and the Board of Supervisors.  The county’s Broadband Authority will own the towers and fiber optic cable and manage any lease agreements with Briscnet and other providers who wish to bring service to residents and businesses.

Briscnet, through its partnership with the county, will offer a range of services to subscribers, at a monthly contract cost of $49-$99. The service will be a broadband system that will connect to homes through a wireless canopy of coverage.

To learn more about the Blue Ridge Towers/Briscnet service or sign up for more information, visit http://briscnet.com/.

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Bedford County awarded $670,500 Tobacco Commission grant for Broadband /bedford-county-awarded-670500-tobacco-commission-grant-for-broadband/ Thu, 06 Jun 2019 18:33:57 +0000 /?p=5667 The grant comes one day after Comcast announced it would begin extending broadband services to more than 7,000 addresses around Smith Mountain Lake

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Bedford County is one of 14 localities in Virginia that on Thursday were awarded a total of $7,909,964 by the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Region Commission to expand broadband services.

Bedford County was awarded $670,500 for its broadband project

The grant comes one day after Comcast announced it would begin extending broadband services to more than 7,000 addresses around Smith Mountain Lake in Bedford County through a $3.5 million Last Mile Broadband Grant the tobacco commission gave the company in 2018.

The “Last Mile Broadband Program” grant provides funding for up to 50% of the construction for communities partnering with private sector providers to extend broadband access to unserved areas of the commonwealth.

This is the second grant Bedford County has received from the commission. In addition to a $1.04 million grant through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) received in March, these grants will cover 50% of the cost to build out broadband in the county to unserved and underserved areas, said Traci Blido, economic development director for the county.

Read more >>

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SRHS grad signs LOI to judge livestock at Northern Oklahoma College /srhs-grad-signs-loi-to-judge-livestock-at-northern-oklahoma-college/ Thu, 16 May 2019 14:50:54 +0000 /?p=5626 Ethan Jackson, a graduate of Staunton River High School, will sign a letter of intent committing to judge livestock at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, Oklahoma at the Staunton River High School Library, May 17, 2019 at 4 p.m.

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Moneta, VA – Ethan Jackson, a graduate of Staunton River High School, will sign a letter of intent committing to judge livestock at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, Oklahoma at the Staunton River High School Library, May 17, 2019 at 4 p.m.

Ethan is a member of the Bedford 4-H Livestock Club and the Smith Mountain FFA Chapter at Staunton River High School and has had a decorated career in both organizations achieving the highest honors possible in both.

Ethan is currently serving as the Virginia FFA State President and has also had many successes in Livestock Judging, including representing Virginia at the National FFA and National 4-H Livestock Judging Contests and being named an All American at the 2018 National 4-H Contest. This summer, Ethan will be representing the United States in international competition in Scotland and Ireland.

“Ethan is the first student from our county to earn a scholarship to judge livestock at the collegiate level. This achievement is a result of years of hard work. He is an example to students that there are opportunities to build a future for yourself in 4-H and FFA” explained Bedford 4-H Livestock Judging Coach Joy Powers.

Ethan will be accompanied by his family, teammates, coaches and fellow 4-H and FFA members at his signing.

Staunton River High School, Bedford County 4-H and the Smith Mountain FFA Chapter congratulates Ethan on his accomplishments and wish him continued success at Northern Oklahoma College this fall.

 

 

 

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Bedford County Proclaims May as Business Appreciation Month /bedford-county-proclaims-may-as-business-appreciation-month/ Tue, 14 May 2019 18:59:28 +0000 /?p=5619 Supervisor Bansley reads proclamation as two local companies are recognized for their growth.

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The Bedford County Board of Supervisors declared May as Business Appreciation Month by Proclamation on Monday night, May 13, 2019.

(L to R): Supervisor Charla Bansley, Walter Siehien, Traci Blido, Franz Beisser, Mickey Johnson.

Supervisor Bansley read the proclamation aloud while Traci Blido, Director of Economic Development and Mickey Johnson, EDA Chairman (far right) stood with Walter Siehien of Blue Ridge Optics and Franz Beisser of Bison Printing to represent the growth of the Bedford County business community. Each of these companies expanded in the past year by hiring additional employees and adding on to their building or investing in new equipment, and we are grateful for the economic impact they make in Bedford County.

Our Business Appreciation event will be held on May 16 at Beale’s as a way to say Thank You to all of our local companies for investing in the community.

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