The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission met Wednesday at Peaks of Otter Lodge in Bedford County to approve projects that promise to create nearly 1,500 jobs, support many new and expanded workforce training programs.

Grants for two local educational organizations were announced at the meeting.

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center will receive a $152,704 grant for equipment and technology refresh for its Center of Nursing Excellence. This project will ensure that high-quality clinical skills training remains accessible for health profession students and incumbent workers in the region and will allow for current capacity to be expanded.

The Southern Southside Virginia Community College Foundation received a $398,350 grant to allow SVCC to expand its associate’s degree in nursing program to include a weekend program designed to graduate nurses over four consecutive semesters. The goal is to increase nursing student enrollment and to target a population that is not currently being reached.

“The projects the commission chose to support at this meeting will create jobs and opportunities for the residents of our rural communities and that’s something we can all be proud of,” said Tobacco Commission Chairman and South Boston Mayor Ed Owens.

The commission serves 40 localities in southern and southwest Virginia.

In addition to supporting 18 funding requests totaling $6.5 million in grants and loans, the commission approved $3 million for the FY22 Talent Attraction Program and $2.6 million in Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund grants and loans to attract large projects to the region.