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Cybersecurity Training Coming To Some Coal-Impacted Communities

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Residents in several West Virginia counties hurt by the declining coal industry will soon have the option to receive training in cybersecurity work.

Glenville State College this week received more than $1.4 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to develop a Cybersecurity and Safety Workforce Development Initiative.

Communities in fifteen West Virginia counties, where coal jobs have dwindled in recent years, will benefit from the program. Those counties include Barbour, Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Harrison, Gilmer, Lewis, Nicholas, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Upshur, Webster and Wirt.

According to a news release, the initiative is designed to cultivate economic diversity, enhance reemployment opportunities for former miners and their families, and fill jobs in cybersecurity, which is a high paying and high-demand field.

The program will train about 300 West Virginians. The state has 1,000 open cybersecurity jobs, according to the release.

The Cybersecurity and Safety Workforce Development Initiative is part of ARC’s larger Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative.

“The downturn of the coal industry has impacted economies across Appalachia. That’s why ARC’s POWER initiative helps to leverage regional partnerships and collaborations to support efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Many of the projects … will invest in educating and training the Appalachian workforce, nurturing entrepreneurship, and supporting infrastructure—including broadband access.”

POWER targets federal resources to communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal-related supply chain industries.

Additional support for the initiative is provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

Webmaster/Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief/Part-time Education Reporter/Producer, emccormick@wvpublic.org, 304-876-9313, @LizMcCormickWV

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