ODU to offer 4-year degree on Norfolk campus and IALR satellite campus

From Virginia Business BY

Old Dominion University will launch Virginia’s first four-year degree in manufacturing engineering technology (MfgET) at its Norfolk campus and a satellite campus at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, the university announced Thursday.

“This partnership reinforces Old Dominion University’s commitment to workforce development and leadership in the maritime industry,” ODU President Brian O. Hemphill said in a statement. “Students across Virginia will be able to gain the necessary skills to fill essential defense jobs, aligning talent with opportunity.”

The program will be housed in the engineering and technology department of ODU’s Batten College of Engineering and Technology. IALR will offer on-site, virtual, and hybrid third- and fourth-year undergraduate classes for the MfgET program.

“The manufacturing sector has grown into an extremely high-tech field with specialized talent needs, especially in the critical skill shortage areas of manufacturing engineering,” IALR Interim President Betty Jo Foster said in a statement. “We are delighted to partner with Old Dominion University, Patrick & Henry Community College, and the Virginia Community College System to address the need voiced so strongly by the defense industrial base, our regional employers, and industry leaders.”

Students will be able to enter the program from community colleges, IALR’s Academy for Engineering and Technology, and career and technical dual-enrollment programs. Patrick & Henry Community College in Martinsville will launch a corresponding associate degree that will serve as a pipeline to the workforce and a pathway to ODU’s four-year degree.

“This initiative will help our nation remain competitive on the global stage as we prepare talent who possess the skills, knowledge, and competencies that are essential for 21st-century manufacturers,” P&HCC President J. Gregory Hodges said in a statement.

The bachelor’s and associate degrees are part of the 32-member Virginia Maritime Industrial Base Consortium’s Talent Pipeline Initiative, which aims to develop talent for defense and industrial base employers through a K-12-to-university pipeline. The Virginia Office of Veterans and Defense Affairs leads the VMIBC, and the Department of Defense awarded the consortium a $5 million grant in October 2021.

The schools are developing the programs’ curricula, which will launch in the second year of the grant cycle.

Manufacturing industry partners joined the launch celebration on IALR’s Danville campus Thursday.

Gary Camper, chief operating officer of Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc.’s nuclear operations group, said in a statement, “Our long-term forecast for naval nuclear propulsion work shows a strong demand for decades, and having a consistent pipeline of skilled shop workers and manufacturing engineers is critical to our long-term growth.”