MARIETTA, OHIO — Washington State Community College (WSCC) has been awarded $618,150 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for the development of a robotics, advanced manufacturing, technology, and engineering center. This initiative will advance regional workforce and economic development by implementing four unique programs including middle school career exploration, high school career and technical education, advanced manufacturing post-secondary education, and displaced/incumbent worker training. The center will serve five communities in two states, and at least 11 regional school districts.
WSCC’s proposed center has been carefully designed based on RAMTEC (Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative) of Ohio, an existing advanced manufacturing “best practices” initiative that has shown measured success throughout the state. The program produces a technically trained, highly skilled, and educated workforce for current and future automation, robotics, mechatronics, CNC (computer numerical control), welding, and industrial maintenance to promote the growth and expansion of companies throughout the state.
RAMTEC has 23 training centers located across the state, yet the program does not serve the southern portion of Appalachian Ohio. Through the POWER grant award, Washington State Community College will replicate and expand the RAMTEC model in cooperation with regional education and industry partners. The new center and related programming will use state-of-the-art equipment and industry-led educational programming designed to deliver in-demand STEM/CTE credentialed training to the current and future workforce.
“We know that there is immediate need for skilled labor and that this need is exponential in the future. The RAMTEC model supports a holistic approach to economic and workforce development by involving all community stakeholders from primary education and parents to manufacturing front lines and industry equipment experts,” said WSCC President Dr. Vicky Wood. “By expanding our partnership with high schools, regional colleges, and businesses, we can grow a workforce that guarantees success for industry and creates a better quality of life for our community.”
Today’s announcement is one of 54 investments totaling $44.4 million via ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative. The congressionally funded opportunity targets federal resources to help communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production.
“I congratulate WSCC for being an FY 2019 POWER grantee, and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they diversify economies, invest in growth-oriented infrastructure, train a next-generation workforce and ingrain resiliency and hope into their local fabric. Projects like this help ensure a prosperous future for Appalachia.”
About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.