About ATDM

The Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM) Program is specifically designed to help adult learners earn the skills necessary to make an immediate impact in the defense industrial base (DIB). The DIB is the system of companies producing parts for the U.S. military to purchase. Our students’ backgrounds, experiences, and education levels vary widely, but most of them are either seeking a career change or beginning their educational journeys. What they have in common is the desire to serve the U.S. by working in the defense industrial base. 

ATDM was created to teach the skills needed for increasing military equipment production. In recent years, other countries—specifically China and North Korea—have increased military technology production while the U.S. has remained stagnant. It is important for threatening countries to see our power in order to reduce threats to our country. Recognizing the need to increase military production, the U.S. government also realized that manufacturing in the U.S. is now a mere 12% of our workforce sector. When WWII started in 1938, approximately 1/3 of the U.S. workforce was in manufacturing. So, not only do we not have a strong arsenal demonstrating our ability to defend ourselves, but we don’t have the workforce trained to build the arsenal, either. 

Due to the importance of submarines in military defense, the Navy is currently funding ATDM, so students are trained in the skills needed to repair, upfit, and build submarines. These skills are transferrable to other defense industry companies, as well. Students earn the skills for great-paying, in-demand defense industry jobs in these skilled trades:

  • Additive Manufacturing
  • CNC Machining
  • Non-destructive Testing
  • Quality Control Inspection (also known as Metrology)
  • Welding

Speed to skills and focus is the key. There is no “fluff.” Every weld the student strikes, part produced on a CNC machine, inspection programmed on a coordinate measuring machine, and part built on additive equipment has a purpose and relevance to the DIB. The training is rigorous. Six hundred-plus hours are squeezed into the four-month training program. Students complete the program with industry-recognized certifications and job opportunities. ATDM staff members work with students on resumes and interview skills and provide the connections to companies to which the students can apply for jobs. 

Mission Statement

ATDM’s mission is to train the nation’s workforce in critical skills to make an immediate impact on the U.S.A.’s defense industrial base. 


Our vision is to lead workforce development for the defense industrial base and to expand our curriculum and processes across the nation. 

Values and DEI Statement

ATDM is committed to a respectful culture across the entire organization accepting students, instructors, and staff of all abilities,backgrounds, races, and genders to teach, guide, and mentor a viable workforce.

About Danville, Virginia

Southern Virginia’s location offers you the best of all worlds. Whether your interests include hiking and biking, kayaking a river or lake, taking in a show or concert, or just grabbing a leisurely dinner with friends, you will find ample opportunities available. It will not take you long to realize why we love to call Danville home. Learn more about our area at www.SoVaIsHome.com.

Frequently Asked ATDM Questions

ATDM is a fast-track training program under the guidance and support of the Department of Defense with a focus on the naval shipbuilding and submarine sectors. Students train in one of the areas NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems Command) has identified as skills gaps in the Submarine Industrial Base (SIB) and Defense Industrial Base (DIB): additive manufacturing, CNC machining, non-destructive testing (NDT), quality control inspection/metrology, and welding.

The U.S. Navy recognizes that new construction and the maintenance of ships and submarines has not kept pace with the need to defend our country. The quality and number of existing shipbuilding trade skill pipelines are insufficient to meet the current and future demand. ATDM is a large part of the Navy’s remedial efforts in the areas of sustainment, new construction, improved presence, capability, and readiness.

Admission to the ATDM Program requires that the individual: 

  1. Be seeking employment within the Defense Industrial Base (DIB); 
  2. Be 18 years old at the time of enrollment; 
  3. Be a high school graduate or have earned a GED; 
  4. Be a U.S. citizen or residing in the U.S. with a work visa allowing the person to live and work permanently in the U.S.; 
  5. Have the ability to pass a drug screening and background check for employment; 
  6. Have access to the internet and email address to complete application materials and acceptance documents online and 
  7. Be willing to relocate for training and/or employment.


The ATDM Program is 600 hours, approximately four months. Students attend classes eight hours per day, five days per week.

No prerequisites or job experience is necessary to apply.

Yes! ATDM trains adults with varied backgrounds who are interested in working in the Defense Industrial Base.

Speak with your commanding officer or unit advisor. ATDM trains both active duty and SkillBridge eligible individuals.


Our students come from a variety of backgrounds, educational levels, previous employment and skills, and locations nationwide. The common thread is a commitment to the Program, dedication to the academic and laboratory workload, the ability to work within teams, and a dedication to excel. Students with those attributes will be successful. ATDM instructors are among the best in the industry, and the ATDM support staff for students is first-rate.

Currently, tuition, housing and transportation are provided for students. Participants are responsible for food, medical care, and other expenses during their four months in the program.

We are always listening to our U.S. industry partners to determine if there are other skills that we need to add to our list of academic courses.

The ATDM staff will offer job placement assistance with companies in the defense manufacturing community.

Absolutely. During the duration of your coursework, the staff will assist you with recommendations on potential DIB/SIB employers, which companies are hiring in your specific skill area, and where those facilities are located. They will also assist with resume and interview preparation, and sponsor industry visits to the school’s facilities.

Presently, the training facilities are located in Danville, VA.

ATDM presently offers five skills areas: additive manufacturing, CNC machining, non-destructive testing (NDT), quality control inspection/metrology, and welding.

  • Additive Manufacturing: The additive manufacturing program trains students to six national certifications in Haas mill operations, Autodesk CAD, SME certified additive manufacturing fundamentals, and lean six sigma yellow belt qualifications, in addition to OSHA 10 general industry Summit training.
  • CNC Machining: The CNC machining program prepares and trains students to nationally recognized certifications in seven areas, including Haas and NIMS lathe, mill, CNC mill, NIMS turning, and OSHA 10 adherence.
  • Non-destructive Testing (NDT) is a testing and analysis technique used by the industry to evaluate the properties of a material, component, structure, or system for characteristic differences or welding defects and discontinuities, without causing damage to the original part. NDT is also known as non-destructive examination (NDE), non-destructive inspection (NDI), and non-destructive evaluation (NDE). All coursework will meet Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) non-destructive testing requirements, as complemented by the American Society of Nondestructive Testing requirements.  
  • Quality Control Inspection/Metrology: trains students in quality control areas such as Mitutoyo MSCOMOS C1, NIMS inspector qualification, and OSHA 10 general industry standards. 
  • Welding: The welding program prepares and trains students to American Welding Society standards in 10 nationally recognized certifications, including flux core, MIG, TIG, and OSHA 10 construction adherence.

Students have the opportunity to earn multiple industry certifications in the Program. They are listed on this website under Programs & Faculty.