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USDA Invests $550,211 to Expand and Strengthen Workforce Development in West Virginia

Andrew Stacy
Release Date

MORGANTOWN, July 10, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) West Virginia State Director Ryan Thorn announced today that the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMC) will receive a $550,211 grant to support workforce development and increase access to good-paying jobs through the Rural Community Advancement Program.

“At USDA Rural Development we are advocates for, investors in, and partners to rural communities and the people, businesses, organizations and local governments within those communities,” said USDA Rural Development West Virginia State Director Ryan Thorn. “The investment announced today will help ensure that graduates of this welding program will enter their careers with the knowledge they need to succeed. It will increase access to good paying jobs and create brighter futures for our rural families.”

The funding will support the continued growth of MAMC welding training programs. It will allow MAMC to purchase much needed equipment for its new Welding Center and to capitalize on additional funding from the Coalfield Development Authority and the Huntington Municipal Development Authority for renovations to the center. The additional funding was made possible through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Program. With these funding opportunities MAMC hopes to double the capacity of its welding program from 35-70 students.


Each year, USDA makes available approximately $3 million to the Appalachian Regional Commission for Rural Community Advancement Program (RCAP) grants to support the Appalachian region. Assistance is provided for 3 primary program areas: 1) curriculum development, program administration and training related to the Appalachian Leadership Initiative (ALI); 2) SUD and recovery-to-work projects; and 3) projects that support rural business development, including opportunities to provide training to rural entrepreneurs, establish new rural businesses, business support centers, and rural business incubators.

The service area for RCAP projects must meet both ARC’s Economic Status indicators, as well as USDA’s requirement of a Persistent Poverty County. ARC takes the lead in reviewing and writing up the projects for approval. Once the project is approved, it transitions to USDA who administers the project, including issuing the grant agreement, navigating amendments, reviewing progress reports, and processing grant payments. Historically, projects have been awarded in the range of $800,000 - $1,500,000.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

Under the Biden Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/wv.

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