An announcement Friday that nearly $63 million in federal Economic Development Authority (EDA) funding to West Virginia as part of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge equals a direct investment to Marshall University and its regional partners for projects in the Huntington-Charleston corridor.
Marshall University President Brad D. Smith congratulated Brandon Dennison and the Appalachian Climate Technologies (ACT) Now Coalition which received the news earlier this week.
“Marshall University is privileged to serve with the amazing team who will bring innovation in research, training and workforce development to the Mountain State,” Smith said. “West Virginia stands on the threshold of a great economic reawakening, thanks to an engaged and forward-focused generation of thinkers and doers. The synergy being created across our universities, our federal, state, and local levels of government and our private businesses is highlighting the grit and grace of our Appalachian spirit while propelling economic growth for generations to come. West Virginia is quickly becoming the demonstration project for the rest of the world. Our time has come!”
Smith said the Marshall projects include the following:
- The College of Engineering and Computer Sciences (CECS) will receive$6 million to develop and staff the Battery Research Institute at a new $17. 5 million center in South Charleston. CECS Dean David Dampier says the institute will be developed to support, primarily, the electric aviation industry and the need for batteries that are powerful, resilient, and efficiently developed.
- Marshall’s Robert C. Byrd Institute, long a regional leader in welding programs, will receive a permanent home for its Welding & Robotics Technology Training Center as part of the City of Huntington’s $12 million H-BIZ Center on the previous ACF Lot on Third Avenue. The program is in collaboration with Mountwest Community and Technical College and will serve as an anchor tenant of the H-BIZ site.
- The Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia, a program led by Marshall, will receive $750,000 for workforce development programs.
- Additional funding is directed to the Marshall University Brownfields Assistance Center and the annual Small Communities, Big Solutions Conference.
Marshall University Vice President for Government Affairs Charlotte Weber said the EDA funding is incredibly exciting and a real game changer for the state of West Virginia and Marshall University.
The ACT Now Coalition is led by Coalfield Development and includes the cities of Huntington, Charleston, and Logan; Marshall and West Virginia universities; and several economic revitalization organizations and private-sector innovators. The Coalition’s efforts focus on building a new economy for Southern West Virginia.