WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), today announced $336,796 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to the Advanced Welding Workforce Initiative (AWWI) at the Robert C Byrd Institute at Marshall University. The AWWI is a partnership program to invest in education and training for advanced technical workers in Appalachia.
“People across West Virginia are no stranger to hard work,” Senator Capito said. “The Advanced Welding Workforce Initiative gives people across West Virginia and Appalachia the chance to develop a trait, forge a life for themselves and their family, and contribute to their communities. Particularly, this program will offer mobile welding training that provides on-the-job instruction that is quick and cost effective. This industry-driven program prepares the workforce of tomorrow by teaching skills that are essential to many sectors of our state’s economy. Partnerships like this are essential to the future of our state, and I thank ARC and NETL for continuing to invest into the people of West Virginia.”
“West Virginians are some of the hardest working people in the nation, we just need the opportunity to prove ourselves. Today’s announcement is great news for the Robert C. Byrd Institute at Marshall University and for the West Virginia workforce,” Senator Manchin said. “Advanced welding is a growing field across Appalachia, and this training program will provide hard-working West Virginians with the skills they need to fill the stable, good-paying jobs in the manufacturing industry. This is a great partnership between two of our federal partners in the region, and I am pleased by the ARC and NETL investment in our people and will continue to work with the Robert C. Byrd Institute to bring more training programs to the Mountain State.”
“This partnership will allow more West Virginians to have the opportunity to obtain the training required to meet the growing industry demand for workers skilled in advanced welding techniques,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “I want to thank Senator Manchin and Senator Capito for their continued support of ARC as we work to further our mission to improve economic opportunity in communities throughout the Appalachian Region.”
“The Advanced Welding Workforce grant will allow RCBI to take its nationally recognized advanced welding training on the road, delivering needed advanced welding services when and where companies need it most,” said Charlotte Weber, Director of RCBI. “We are very excited about this jobs creating opportunity and thank ARC, the DoE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, and West Virginia’s Congressional Delegation.”
Robert C. Byrd Institute at Marshall University in Huntington, WV will use $336,796 to partner with institutions like Mountwest Community and Technical College to educate and train Central Appalachians in advanced welding methods needed in manufacturing, fossil power plant, aviation, automotive, and petrochemical industries. The program will offer hands-on training through classrooms and a new mobile training laboratory funded by the award. The University anticipates at least 18 students will obtain new employment, 35 workers/trainees will obtain new or enhance their current positions, and at least ten businesses will be improved after just the first year of implementation.