West Virginia University at Parkersburg will be receiving $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce to boost advanced manufacturing workforce training efforts in the region.

The grant was announced Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and will be used to support development of the WVUP Advanced Manufacturing Training Facility. This EDA investment will be matched with $333,837 in local funds.

“President (Joe) Biden knows America’s workers are the source of our country’s competitiveness, and this EDA grant will invest in our workers by helping West Virginians get the opportunities and skills they need for quality, good paying jobs in manufacturing,” Raimondo said in a press release from the department.

WVUP President Torie Jackson said the college will be using the money to buy equipment to expand the offerings of technical degrees at the Jackson County Center in Ripley.

“We have been renovating that facility from one that housed general education courses into an Applied Technical Center,” she said. “We will be able to offer not only the degrees that Constellium wants, but also the full Advanced Manufacturing Technology degree.

“For Constellium, we offer associate of applied science degrees in reliability and maintenance technology and in multi-craft technology.”

The WVUP Board of Governors approved a $450,000 renovation of the facility, which is underway.

“This addition allows for a more than $2 million total investment into this renovation project to allow us to provide a skilled workforce for the Jackson County area,” Jackson said. “We are very thankful for the support of U.S. senators and our local legislators as we pursue projects that help us meet workforce demands.”

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, I-W.Va., said the EDA continues to be a strong partner for West Virginia through important investments that spur economic growth in local communities and reinvigorate this country’s manufacturing industry.

“I am particularly excited about today’s $1.3 million award to West Virginia University at Parkersburg, which will help boost manufacturing workforce development throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley,” he said. “As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue working with EDA to deliver these kinds of resources that prepare West Virginians for quality jobs and ensure the Mountain State leads in innovation.”

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said as the Ranking Member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, she will continue to help lead efforts to support West Virginia communities through the EDA.

“The EDA is a critical partner in growing our state’s economy now and in the future, and I’m glad this funding will directly benefit WVU Parkersburg, providing a boost to their manufacturing workforce training programs,” she said.

This project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) initiative, through which EDA awards funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.