Advanced Manufacturing Blueprint
Manufacturing has deep roots in Southwest Virginia. One can see the effects of a strong manufacturing culture and rich tradition throughout communities in the region.
Southwest Virginia’s skilled workforce, reliable infrastructure and manufacturing heritage have made it home for leading industry producers of aerospace and automotive components, mining machinery, utility housings, circuit boards, pressure vessels and much more. The region’s diverse mix of manufacturing companies demonstrates its ability to attract and sustain a viable manufacturing base.
Southwest Virginia’s strategic location provides access to half of the U.S. population in less than a day’s drive. The region stretches from the tip of the Commonwealth in Cumberland Gap along a transportation network including Interstates 81 and 77 and four-lane highways connecting to Interstates 26 and 40. The 5,978 square miles of Southwest Virginia also boast the most robust broadband network of any rural area in the country.
With a population of over 400,000, Southwest Virginia is home to manufacturing operations of
General Dynamics and Tempur Productions as well as technology companies such as Northrop
Grumman and CGI.
Historically, Southwest Virginia has focused on tobacco farming, textiles, furniture manufacturing
and energy extraction as the primary employment sectors. These industries have seen significant
declines in recent decades leaving behind a foundational workforce that has great aptitude for
engineering and manufacturing.
With the resurgence of manufacturing and the reshoring opportunities that exist for the U.S.,
Southwest Virginia has tremendous potential to attract new operations. Furthermore, the existing
manufacturing base in our region has specific needs related to growth and operational success. This
Blueprint for attracting and sustaining advanced manufacturing in Soutwest Virginia leverages the
region's strengths to identify our competitive position, market opportunities, barriers to growth and
needs of the manufacturing section. This Blueprint represents the work of many remarkable people
throughout the region and the Commonwealth who think that the opportunities in Southwest
Virginia far outweigh the challenges. It is one of several developed for the region addressing
regional needs and opportunities.