WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today announced that the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded a total of $2,424,400 to support economic development projects in Huntington, Davis and at community colleges across West Virginia.
“While I am encouraged that the new administration is already taking action to roll-back eight years of harmful regulations, we must also continue addressing the current needs of West Virginia’s struggling coal communities that have suffered from regulatory overreach. These POWER grants are a positive step toward economic recovery and diversification in West Virginia,” said Senator Capito.
“This funding will help create jobs, diversify our state’s economy and support the Huntington and Davis communities,” Senator Manchin said. “ARC funding continues to be a tremendous asset to economic development in West Virginia. This funding is not only an investment in economic development but also in the quality of life for so many West Virginians.”
“Each one of these investments is a catalyst for West Virginia’s economic future.” said Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl. “Together they are creating jobs, building economic momentum, and proving that Appalachia is America’s next great investment opportunity.”
“The grant from ARC is a critical component in the development of our Highlawn brownfield project,” Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said. “It provides us the opportunity to actively begin preparing the property for development. We have worked hard for this and appreciate the unending support we have received from our congressional delegation.”
Project details below:
- The Polymer Technology Center of Huntington ("P-TeCH") will receive $750,000. As part of a larger plan for creating jobs and businesses in the regional polymer industry, the project will convert a 27-acre abandoned brownfield in downtown Huntington into a multi-purpose resource for West Virginia’s growing polymer manufacturing sector. A Product Development Center will assist manufacturing and technology firms with product development and design, testing, validation, and other commercialization services. A Light Manufacturing Center will provide business incubation and scale-up manufacturing space for polymer industry start-ups. P-TeCH will also be a jobs skills and workforce development center for a pipeline of interns, manufacturing workers, and entrepreneurs in the region. The project will partner with a leading private sector polymer manufacturing company, leverage $2 million in private investment, and improve the competitiveness of 24 businesses.
- The Canaan Valley Institute in Davis will receive $1,499,400. The funding will support the Sustainable Jobs Imitative with the goal of creating an economic diversification and entrepreneur training program to grow the apiculture (honey and bee products) and native plant industries across 14 coal-impacted counties in southern West Virginia, with a focus on using reclaimed mine land. Activities include training for displaced and underemployed workers and veterans to gain the business and technical skills necessary to become successful entrepreneurs in these sectors. A Beekeeping Collective will enable residents of central Appalachia to take advantage of the robust, growing market for honey and other bee products, while a Native Plant Horticulture Program will train workers to collect, grow, and market high-demand local varietals of native plants, a growing niche market in the eastern United States. Key partners include Appalachian Headwaters, Green Forests Work, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, and New River Technical and Community College. The project will serve over 2600 workers, generate $2.4 million of revenue over three years, and attract $4.6 million of leveraged private investment.
- The American Assocition of Community Colleges (AACC) will receive $175,000. The funding will support the Industry-Informed Infrastructure in Appalachian Colleges (“I3”) project. I3 will start as a two-state pilot effort over one year to expand the industry connections and technical training capacities of community colleges serving coal-impacted communities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, along with adjacent areas of neighboring states. The activities in Pennsylvania will focus on the oil and gas industry, while those in West Virginia with highlight management and leadership in the hospitality industry. Additional components of the project will link participating community colleges with industry leaders in other high demand sectors identified by the colleges. The initiative is founded on the concept that Appalachian community colleges deserve the highest caliber industry infusion of resources to create critical talent pipelines for the region’s workforce. AACC will identify national industry partners and trade associations that can be leveraged to provide reduced-price services or partnerships that can build the capacity of the colleges, communities, and students. At least 12 colleges are expected to benefit from the project.