Senator Jay Rockefeller today said that he is pleased federal officials held a roundtable today in Huntington with Congressman Nick Rahall focusing on ways to create rural economic growth and explaining how the federal agencies can help local governments, businesses, and organizations expand and grow.
"These federal agencies are able to provide crucial advice to West Virginia businesses, organizations, and local governments about ways they can start or expand their businesses and hire more employees," said Rockefeller. "That's good news for every West Virginian as it helps create jobs and boost the state's economy. I'm also so glad that two initiatives in our state received federal money to further workforce development and job creation initiatives. These programs are prime examples of the good that can come from collaborations and working together."
The roundtable included officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA).
They also announced that two West Virginia initiatives won federal funding through the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge which aims to spur job creation and economic growth in rural regions across the country. The following programs received funding:
West Virginia Value Chain Cluster Initiative - $815,000 -- It will emphasize the importance of local food systems in diversifying the West Virginia economy. The project will expand the business and financial capacity of four regional food value chain clusters in 17 counties. The four clusters are Greenbrier Valley Regional Cluster, Mid?Ohio Valley Growers Association, Tygart Valley Cluster, and the Doddridge?Tyler?Ritchie?Gilmer Counties Marketing Co?Op.
Southern West Virginia Rural Jobs Accelerator - $717,985 - It will provide technical assistance, workforce development, entrepreneurism support, local capacity building, and other resources to rejuvenate existing regional assets in tourism and advanced manufacturing clusters in nine counties of southern West Virginia. Partners include Marshall University Research Corporation, Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing, TechConnect West Virginia, Concord University Research & Development Corporation, and the Natural Capital Investment Fund.