HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — More than $6 million in federal funds will help create jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare in southern West Virginia.

“It’s going to be helping hundreds of employers. It’s going to create the opportunity to hire well over 100 new jobs in southern West Virginia,” said Third District Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.).

Jenkins was on hand as a series of grants were announced Thursday at the Robert C. Byrd Institute in Huntington. The funds come from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

Senator Joe Manchin, also at the announcement, was optimistic about what will result from the grants.

“Since the founding of our state, West Virginians have always been hardworking and refused to accept the status quo,” Manchin stated in a news release from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. “Today, as we work to strengthen and diversify West Virginia’s economy, we must make sure West Virginians have access to meaningful job opportunities.”

Manchin continued, “This funding will help Marshall University boost training opportunities in advanced manufacturing and will create and retain over 330 jobs. This investment will foster sustainable economic growth and improve our communities and our workforce.”

Three programs were awarded grants. They include:

Appalachian Hatchery project
Provides workforce training opportunities to local manufacturers

Sprouting Farms project
Assists farm businesses in seven West Virginia counties

Sustainable Employment for Community Health Workers program
Streamlines health care services for high-risk patients in southern coalfields

Jenkins said the funding is a step in the right direction because there is a great need for jobs, particularly in the southern part of the state.

“I hear all the time there are those who are looking for work and say I can’t find a job or there are employers who say we can’t find available workers,” he said. “What we’re doing is bringing together the skill sets and the needs for today’s businesses.”

The grant money will be distributed over a period of time, Jenkins said.

“This is a multi-year effort. The funds will start to flow very soon and will continue for the next several years,” he said.

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