At a conference of the 13 states making up the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) Thursday underscored the value of Federal investments in Appalachia to build infrastructure and strengthen communities’ ability to attract new businesses and create jobs.
“The Jobs Accelerator program, an alliance between three job producing federal agencies – the Economic Development Administration, Appalachian Regional Commission and USDA Rural Development – is working in unison to strengthen our local economy and apply the technical assistance public private partnerships need to succeed. These kinds of improvements create jobs and attract investments to ensure a solid foundation for economic development, so that we can expand existing businesses, attract new job opportunities and keep future generations of West Virginians working here, building careers and raising their families,” said Rahall.
Rahall, the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), has worked in Congress to exempt economic development programs from ongoing budget cuts in Washington and been successful in securing resources for building clean drinking water infrastructure and modern wastewater management systems in West Virginia’s southern counties.
At Rahall’s urging, ARC, EDA, and Rural Development helped to fund an alliance between Marshall and Concord Universities, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Technology, TechConnect, and the Natural Capital Investment Fund to develop entrepreneurship and business opportunities in rural tourism and manufacturing through Jobs Accelerator Grants to West Virginia.
Rahall also spoke of the leadership and service of U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) as vital in advancing the State’s opportunities for economic development from a regional to global scale.
“For fifty years, from Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation to broadband deployment, our Senator used his talents and tenacity to help connect West Virginia to the world,” said Rahall. “Toyota, like the proverbial iceberg, is just the tip, albeit a grand tip, of the companies Jay has had a strong and sturdy hand in landing in West Virginia. It is incumbent upon us to build on the Senator’s good work. There are no better examples of how we can continue that construction than the EDA, ARC, and USDA Rural Development partnership. Together we are laying a solid foundation for job creation throughout Appalachia.”