WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2 million grant to Wallace State Community College (WSCC) of Cullman, Alabama, to build a technical education center that will help workers gain new, in-demand skills. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create 68 jobs.
“Since as early as 2012, we have been working diligently to secure funding for this project.,” said Dr. Vicki Karolewics, President of Wallace State Community College. “Wallace State’s involvement in launching ZeroRPM and Sequence Health only strengthened our sense of urgency that a center of this type is essential to the continued growth of jobs through entrepreneurship in our community. Chancellor Baker and the Board of Trustees of the Alabama Community College System shared our vision, and with their support and this funding, we will finally see this vision become a reality.”
“Under the Trump Administration, workforce development and training are of the utmost importance as some workers continue to struggle in communities across the United States,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This new facility in Cullman will provide the innovative education workers need to compete for jobs in the global economy.”
“I am proud to work with President Trump in fulfilling his mission to support rural America,” said Congressman Robert Aderholt. “These funds invest in jobs that help drive rural Alabama and provide a good quality of life.”
“Workforce development is a cornerstone in our efforts to increase the level of education of our citizens, and in turn, our efforts to continue growing Alabama’s economy,” said Governor Ivey. “We are honored to have the support of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Secretary Ross to implement these much needed programs to train our workers for some of the state’s most in-demand jobs.”
“Businesses and manufacturers across the country are actively seeking workers with technical skills,” said Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). “This significant investment will allow Wallace State Community College the opportunity to equip students with the necessary innovative training to meet this heightened demand. Further, the new technical education center will serve a vital role in promoting workforce development and fostering economic growth throughout Alabama.”
This investment will establish WSCC’s new technical education center, housing a welding program and business incubator. The welding program upgrades will support and expand a pipeline of technical education for the region, while the incubator space will support the convergence of various community resources. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments. EDA the North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.