How the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing Partners with Chmura Consulting to Solve Advanced Manufacturing and Workforce Challenges

Posted on September 26, 2023 by Libby Mackow

The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) is an applied research center where industry, academia, and government come together to solve advanced manufacturing challenges and prepare a qualified manufacturing workforce.

CCAM has partnered with Chmura consulting for several years on a variety of projects. CCAM continues to engage with Chmura consulting to objectively analyze the value of the work they do in advanced manufacturing, and within the Commonwealth of Virginia, through impact studies. Betsey Odell, Director of Development at CCAM, states that without the help of Chmura’s economists, they “struggled to communicate their value and impact to members, and to the Commonwealth.” CCAM utilizes the impact studies from Chmura consulting to complete grant applications, communicate the economic impact of their initiatives with stakeholders, and  further their initiatives within advanced manufacturing.


CCAM Works with Chmura to Submit Data-Rich Grant Applications

CCAM first engaged with Chmura’s consulting services at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic to prepare a GO Virginia grant application to support workforce training. Chmura’s economists provided valuable insights to help assess needs across the Commonwealth. 

Following this initial study, CCAM engaged Chmura to assist in another GO Virginia grant application called Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC). GO TEC, geared towards middle school students, was launched in Southern Virginia with the goal of strengthening the advanced manufacturing workforce pipeline. CCAM sought to expand these GO TEC labs to five middle schools in their region, located south of Richmond, Virginia. In order to position CCAM to win this grant, CCAM needed to quantify the ROI of this program.

Odell states that Chmura’s consulting team was the first group she thought of to help her with this challenge. To accomplish the task of quantifying the ROI of a new GO TEC program near CCAM, Chmura consultants began by establishing baseline interest in STEM careers within the region. The team reviewed the increased enrollment in career connections labs and mechatronics after the implementation of GO TEC labs in Southern Virginia, to estimate what a similar effort might achieve in the region around CCAM. After establishing the anticipated increase in student enrollment above the baseline interest, Chmura also estimated how many of these additional students would continue toward an advanced manufacturing career path through internships, apprenticeships, certificate completion, and dual enrollment. The goal of this was to calculate the respective impact on wages and overall economic impact in Virginia attributable to new GO TEC labs.

Odell states that Chmura’s data analysis and forecast “got our stakeholders excited and helped us win our first round of approvals.”


Quantifying CCAM's Economic Impact to the Commonwealth of Virginia 




CCAM contributes to the success of the Commonwealth’s manufacturing economy, and because CCAM receives funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is vital that they can communicate the value of their work in a measurable way.  Odell says that “we need to show that we deliver a robust ROI, and Chmura helped us to tell that story.”

Chmura’s consulting team worked to quantify CCAM’s impact by conducting an extensive economic impact study. Chmura’s analysis surveyed a broad spectrum of the organization’s stakeholders and centered on four key areas: Research & Development, Workforce Development, Business Attraction, and Federal Funding.

In CCAM’s October 2022 Status Update to the Commonwealth of Virginia, preliminary data demonstrated CCAM’s positive effect on Virginia’s economy. On an annual average basis, it was estimated that CCAM operations generated $8.8 million through direct, indirect, and induced impact, supporting 54 state jobs per year.

CCAM’s impact is significant, and Chmura’s report enabled them to clearly measure the impact of the work they do.  Odell states that “as an R&D facility, we focus on real world problems for our members and we are great at delivering robust manufacturing technology to our members,” but that CCAM needed help quantifying their impact, and Chmura’s objective analysis enabled CCAM to communicate this value.


The Chmura Difference

Odell views Chmura consulting as an extension of CCAM’s organization – one that allows her to reach critical deadlines and articulate her organization’s impact while maintaining objectivity. She cites Chmura’s “top-notch” economists as reliable and timely, despite the need for quick turnarounds. With grant applications, “the third dimension is always time: deadlines,” and Odell states that with Chmura, she knows that “when a project starts, it’s going to finish on time.”

In addition to their reliability, Odell believes that one of the team’s most impactful attributes is how passionate the economists are. Chmura’s consulting team is comprised of experts dedicated to helping their clients and community succeed. Chmura is proud to partner with a nationally recognized organization like the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

Our expert economists can help you uncover your region’s unique labor market characteristics through economic and fiscal impact studies, strategic planning, and industry analyses. If you would like to discuss how Chmura’s consulting team can help you, contact us today. We’d love to talk to you.


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This blog reflects Chmura staff assessments and opinions with the information available at the time the blog was written.