December 03, 2013

Kaine Discusses High-Tech Manufacturing And Workforce Development In Roanoke

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine visited high-tech manufacturing facility PlasticsOne Inc. to learn about the growth of manufacturing in the Roanoke Valley and discuss the importance of developing a talented workforce to meet the needs of a 21st century global economy. While at the facility, Kaine tested the ORIGOSafeTM product, a cell phone dock that aims to reduce distracted driving collisions and enhance road safety by limiting drivers to hands-free functions and disabling handheld cell phone features behind the wheel, including text messaging.  ORIGOSafeTM components are manufactured by three Roanoke Valley companies and assembled at ORIGO’s™ headquarters in Roanoke.

During the tour, Kaine spoke with PlasticsOne Inc. employees and members of the manufacturing community about ways to improve local workforce development programs and equip the next generation of workers with the necessary skills to remain competitive. Kaine also discussed the importance of strengthening career and technical training as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the Commonwealth.

"American manufacturing is becoming much more technologically sophisticated and we're seeing shortages of people with technical backgrounds," said Kaine. "When I was Governor we worked on creating a technical diploma you could get in high school focusing on career and technical education and I look forward to working on similar legislation at the federal level. There are so many technical jobs that produce a great living, but students don't always receive the information that would allow them to choose those career fields."

Kaine recently wrote an op-ed on the importance of investing in early childhood education programs and cited the positive impact such programs have had on the competitiveness of Virginia’s workforce. Since July, Kaine has also visited Dublin, Bedford County, South Boston, Culpeper and Centreville to discuss new ideas for integrating STEM curriculum into Virginia’s education system and expanding career and workforce training throughout the Commonwealth.