WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) announced today that five West Virginia organizations have received more than $4.4 million in grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The five grants, totaling $4,437,862, have been awarded to the following organizations:
- $1.5 million to Bluefield State College for equipment and program support for the Center of Excellence in Manufacturing Engineering. The program will help train students, including displaced coal workers, in new manufacturing and technology fields, including robotics and 3D printing. The center is expected to serve 250 students and 15 businesses and create approximately 100 jobs.
- $1,017,308 to Pierpont Community & Technical College in Fairmont for its Powering Up the Aerospace Workforce in Coal-Impacted Communities of West Virginia project. The grant will help more former coal miners graduate from workforce training and two-year degree programs at The Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center in Bridgeport, West Virginia. It is expected that 130 people will enroll and 89 students will complete the training programs, thanks to this grant.
- $999,963 to the Region 4 Planning and Development Council in Summersville for the Linking Trails and Communities to Spawn Economic Growth: The Southern WV Bike Trail Network project. The trail system will be located in Greenbrier, Fayette and Nicholas counties, crossing through the Monongahela National Forest, New River Gorge National River, Babcock State Park, and other key recreational and tourism areas. The project is expected to attract $3 million in increased tourism and visitors to the region.
- $899,791 to PRIDE Community Services in Logan for the BuildJobs Initiative project. BuildJobs will help train displaced coal workers in the construction trades, helping to meet the need for skilled construction workers. It will also help support participants who want to open new construction businesses. The BuildJobs Initiative will focus on five counties impacted by the downturn in coal: Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo and Wyoming. The project will help create 15 new businesses and serve more than 120 students.
- $20,800 to KVC Health Systems in Charleston for the KVC Health Systems College project. The technical assistance grant will fund the feasibility study for the KVC College concept, which would repurpose the West Virginia University-Institute of Technology campus in Montgomery into a specialized college for young people in foster care.
“These five grants will help West Virginia kickstart our economy, create new jobs, and expand tourism opportunities. Thanks to the leadership of these organizations, West Virginians will launch new businesses and capitalize on all that our great state has to offer. I thank the Appalachian Regional Commission for their continued investment in West Virginia, and I will continue to fight for funding for this vital program in the upcoming budget,” Rep. Jenkins said.
“Each one of these awards is a blueprint for new jobs, fresh opportunities, and a robust economic future for West Virginia. Together, these investments bring added capital into the region and help Appalachia prepare to globally compete in manufacturing, technology, construction and a variety of other industry sectors,” ARC Federal Co-Chairman Earl F. Gohl said.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Jenkins helped secure $50 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission to invest in Appalachia, as well as $15 million for the U.S. Economic Development Administration to help coal communities hurt by the downturn in coal.