Morgantown, W.Va. - The Energy Institute at West Virginia University will be leading an effort to
identify the potential for new, well-paying energy-related jobs for West
Virginia's workers with a $50,000 grant from Appalachian Regional Commission's Power initiative.
The project will create a roadmap for retraining coal miners and other energy sector workers, as well as pre-apprenticeship placement by examining the resources currently available and identifying education and training gaps.
The ARC award will lay the groundwork for a much bigger effort to re-energize West Virginia’s workforce building on the state’s energy traditions and legacy, according to Wafle. It will also create a network of those engaged in creating workforce talent from middle school through community college and union-industry apprenticeships, to university post-graduate level training.
Trina Wafle, Energy Institute assistant director for Program Development
“Announcements by Toyota, GreenPower Motor, Sparkz, and Pure Watercraft provide a glimpse into the jobs that electrifying transportation can create in West Virginia. But transportation is not the only sector where opportunity exists," said Trina Wafle, assistant director for Program Development at the Energy Institute who will be leading the project.
"We also want to anticipate the workforce implications of efforts such as the $8 billion regional clean hydrogen hubs program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, for example.”
In addition, WVU will be participating in four other, newly announced, ARC-funded projects. They include:
- developing the health sciences workforce in northern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania;
- helping small and medium manufacturers participate in growing the supply chain for lower-carbon energy generation and carbon capture and storage technologies through Manufacturing Extension Partnerships in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania;
- assisting small, coal-impacted communities develop capacity to write winning proposals for federal and private funding to promote economic development with Marshall University; and
- building a blueprint for bike trails in Randolph County to bolster the region’s outdoor tourism economy with the City of Elkins.
The awards are part of a recently announced nearly $47 million package supporting 52 projects in 181 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which directs federal resources to economic diversification projects in Appalachian communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries.
This is the largest single POWER awards package to date since the initiative launched in 2015.
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.
MEDIA CONTACT: Tracy Novak
Energy Institute Communications
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