Plans for a new Center for Coatings Applied Research and Education (C-CARE) are moving swiftly in Virginia, where the project has just gained a variety of approvals and a $1 million shot in the arm.
A local Economic Development Committee approved a grant request from the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) on Tuesday to grant $1,052,000 in state Tobacco Commission funding to establish the center in Riverstone Technology Park.
C-CARE’s mission will be to identify and help commercialize solutions in the surface engineering field and provide a high-quality workforce in related areas, officials said.
Surface Engineering Applications
“Surface engineering” is concerned with how wood, metal, composite and other surfaces can be coated, treated or otherwise finished to provide specific performance, appearance and/or sustainability characteristics, IDA officials explained after the Tobacco Commission meeting Tuesday.
The project aims to:
• Establish a “one-stop shop” of surface engineering expertise for research, development and workforce development, with equipment and facilities designed to attract engineering companies and institutions as well as companies seeking research and development services;
• Leverage existing assets in the region and state, particularly the modeling/simulation center at Riverstone Energy Center and the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (C-CAM) in Prince George County (C-CAM research will be extended through a dedicated lab in Riverstone); and
• Provide a location for activity around which companies will choose to locate, stimulating local employment.
County supervisors approved a resolution earlier this month supporting the IDA’s grant request for funding to establish the C-CARE project. Supervisors also agreed to provide a 10 percent match contingent on Tobacco Commission approval of the grant request.
The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission is a 31-member body created by the General Assembly to promote economic growth and development in Virginia’s tobacco-dependent communities, using proceeds of the national tobacco settlement. To date, the Commission has awarded 1,334 grants totaling more than $728.7 million.
“We are excited that the Tobacco Commission and the Board of Supervisors are supporting this project,” said Halifax County IDA Executive Director Mike Sexton. “It is another step forward in advancing the workforce throughout the tobacco region and will be led by the Industrial Development Authority of Halifax County, in partnership with the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and the University of Virginia.”
No timetable for project has been released.