State and Federal officials were in Huntington Thursday afternoon to announce a series of grants aimed at helping create employment in the southern part of the state.
Three grants in excess of $6 million will target manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare in the southern part of the state. The grants were awarded at the Robert C. Byrd Institute in Huntington. The Appalachian Hatchery project will boost workforce training opportunities through RCBI. The Sprouting Farms program will help facilitate an agricultural industry in nine counties in southern West Virginia.
And the third program to receive money was the Sustainable Employment for Community Health Workers program. The initiative started by Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will create 26 permanent community health worker jobs in coal-impacted communities.
United States Representative Evan Jenkins said this is a step in the right direction.
"We’ve now got things turned around, we’re getting the policies right, we’re trying to get coal moving again, but we’re also making investments to make sure West Virginia diversifies it’s economy, jobs are the future," Jenkins said
United States Senator Joe Manchin echoed Jenkins sentiments.
“This funding will help Marshall University boost training opportunities in advanced manufacturing and will create and retain over 330 jobs," Manchin said. "This investment will foster sustainable economic growth and improve our communities and our workforce.”
The grants were awarded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Benedum Foundation and the One Foundation.