Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission

Commission Approves 29 Funding Requests for Projects in Southern and Southwest Virginia

Richmond, VA – The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission met on Monday, May 18th to give final approval for 29 funding requests. Approved Education and Workforce Development projects include a partnership between New College Institute in Martinsville and Amazon Web Services to train workers for cloud services positions, a new Mental Health Counseling Master’s program at Emory & Henry College, new machining and radiology equipment at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg and support for the expansion of power lineman, CDL and dental assistant programs at Mountain Empire Community College in the Town of Appalachia as well as millions in financial aid for Community College students. These projects and the additional projects approved at this meeting will create opportunities for thousands of individuals across Southern and Southwest Virginia in the years to come and illustrate the key role the Tobacco Commission plays in the long term advancement of our rural economies.

Agribusiness projects approved include hemp fiber processing projects in Danville and Russell County to ensure that Virginia is well positioned for the opportunities this emerging industry presents.

As well as the awards mentioned the Commission also adopted a new budget and agreed to hold a future meeting later this spring to consider an updated strategic plan.

Additionally, the Commission is pleased to welcome four new members:

Del. Lashrecse Aird
Del. Chris Hurst
Del. Sam Rasoul
Del. Roslyn Tyler

The Commission also announced the hiring of Mike Kaestner as the Commission’s new Grants Director and thanked retiring Grants Director Tim Pfohl for his service to the Commission and the Commonwealth.

Tobacco Commission Chairman, Delegate Terry Kilgore said, “I’m pleased with the work the Commission was able to accomplish today under these unique circumstances. These will be trying times for rural Virginia but we must keep moving forward with the work of bringing jobs and investment to Southern and Southwest Virginia.The projects approved at this meeting will help us continue to do just that and I thank everyone for making these meetings a success.”

Tobacco Commission Executive Director, Evan Feinman added, “While the meetings themselves were unusual in that we couldn’t all be together to do the business of the Commission, I think the results align well with our goal of working to develop a diverse and vibrant economy in Southern and Southwest Virginia. I’d like to thank the Commissioners and the staff for being flexible and making these meetings possible, and our new Commissioners for joining a meeting just a few days after being appointed.”

The requests approved at this meeting total more than $7,834,000 and will support projects across Southern and Southwest Virginia. The total funds awarded break down as follows: $2,469,571 for Competitive Education, $2,901,000 for Workforce Financial Aid, $1,900,000 for a Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund project loan and $564,017 for AgriBusiness industrial hemp processing projects. Additionally the Commission authorized various extensions for existing projects. The individual requests approved ranged in size from $12,500 to $1,900,000.

The Tobacco Commission is committed to developing a diverse economy in Southern and Southwest Virginia. The funding requests approved at the meeting will continue to move the region toward that goal.



Contact: Jordan Butler
Telephone: 804-786-7692
Cell: 757-692-0878
Email: jbutler@revitalizeva.org
Website: www.revitalizeva.org