Workforce & Education

Workforce Training

A trainable labor force is key to the success of any company choosing a business location. Virginia is the northern-most right-to-work state and is known for its aggressive training programs. Wise County helps prospective industries access these resources. Other quality career and technical education programs are available through the Center for Workforce Development at Mountain Empire Community College, at The University of Virginia's College at Wise, the Wise County Career and Technical Education Center and the Wise Skills Center.

Mountain Empire Community College Workforce Solutions

Mountain Empire Community College's Center for Workforce Development provides state-of-the art workforce training and services to individuals, businesses, industries, and government agencies. As an active member of the community, the Center for Workforce Development collaborates with regional employers on an ongoing basis to maintain a competitive workforce in today's global economy.

To support the goals of business and industry, the Center provides customized job training offered at MECC or the client's site, as well as open enrollment courses for professional and personal development. Credit, non-credit, and distance education courses promote life-long learning and economic development in the Southwest Virginia Region.

Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board

The Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides oversight and governance for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs in Local Workforce Development Southwest Region. The Southwest Region is composed of eight jurisdictions in far Southwestern Virginia (counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, Wise, and city of Norton.

In addition, the Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board also operates non-WIOA programs such as Pathways to the American Dream (assists individuals enrolled in emerging career-technical programs with fees associated with training and employment), the HEART Project (provides transition assistance to businesses affected by the downturn in the coal industry), and the Financial Empowerment Network (provides no-cost financial training to residents to help them achieve their financial goals and gain economic security).

The Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board partners with many organizations throughout the community, including: Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing Center of Excellence, Southwest Community College, Mountain Empire Community College, Department for Aging and Rehabilitation Services, Virginia Employment Commission, Southwest Regional Adult Education, People Incorporated of Virginia, among others.

Southwest Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence

Our Vision: The Centers of Excellence are recognized as an asset for the workforce and economic development through innovative and quality training solutions.

Our Mission: We are a dynamic network of advanced manufacturing resources that support industry by developing an exceptionally skilled workforce.


Less than one mile from the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park is The University of Virginia's College at Wise where significant computer-related degree programs are ongoing and a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering is a new core curriculum being offered. Mountain Empire Community College and UVA-Wise complement the technology park model by offering training in information technology certifications. The community college offers associate degrees, certificate programs, teleservice career curriculum and customized training to meet the specific needs of business and industry. The Wise County and Norton City schools also offer a full range of Kindergarten to 12 programs serving 7,000 students, including a distance learning center and fiber-optic interactive classrooms. The Wise County Career and Technical Center provides a wide range of traditional and non-traditional vocational and technological opportunity experiences.