U.S. EDA Invests $5.25 Million to Promote Innovation & Job Creation at West Virginia Technology Park
August 1, 2011
Contact: John Atwood, (202) 482-4085
WASHINGTON - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced a $5.25 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission of Charleston, W. Va., to make renovations to a research lab building in South Charleston's West Virginia Regional Technology Park. The project is expected to create an initial 96 jobs and an additional 9,000 jobs over the long term, according to grantee estimates.
"Encouraging innovation and bringing new technologies to the marketplace are critical to creating jobs and improving our nation's economic competitiveness," Locke said. "This EDA grant will help main street businesses create jobs and support economic growth in Charleston by providing vital infrastructure improvements needed to boost the region's innovation economy."
"There is new life in the Tech Park, and new hope that it will be an ongoing source of pride and economic progress not only for the Kanawha Valley, but also for the entire state," said Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. "With this grant, we will see one of the park's landmark lab buildings turn into a modern facility ripe for additional research jobs, innovations and discoveries. And we'll be one significant stride closer to greater technology-based economic development in West Virginia."
"In these challenging times, it is critical that we prioritize our spending on smart investments that will help create the jobs of tomorrow in West Virginia and the nation, and this is a smart investment that will do that," said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin. "I am so proud of initiatives like the West Virginia Education, Research and Technology Park, which is a model of public-private partnership and fosters critically needed economic development for the Mountain State. This EDA grant will help transform the West Virginia Education, Research and Technology Park into a world-class lab facility and a small technology business incubator, creating an essential technology and research hub for Kanawha County and all of West Virginia."
As governor, Senator Manchin was dedicated to the revitalization of the tech park. In February 2010, then-Gov. Manchin secured the former South Charleston Technology Park owned by The Dow Chemical Company, a donation of about $34 million, and announced that the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission would operate the new West Virginia Education, Research and Technology Park.
"Entrepreneurs and innovation will lead us out of these tough economic times. This generous Economic Development Administration grant will accelerate job creation by awarding local businesses and start-ups must needed resources to grow their business. The advances made over the next few years at the South Charleston "Tech park" will have a positive ripple effect throughout the greater West Virginia and regional economies," stated Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito.
Building #770, which will be renovated to maximize energy efficiency, will provide leased incubator space to high-tech start-up companies in the chemical, energy, and advanced materials industries. The renovations will result in significant energy savings for the State and businesses working in the facility, reducing operating costs by nearly 50 percent annually. Start-up companies and entrepreneurs in the park will conduct innovative product and process research, testing and business development, and will also have manufacturing capacity. The building will also include research and teaching facilities for Marshall University, West Virginia University, and four community colleges.
The modernized commercial technology park aims to build upon the existing regional innovation cluster to attract new businesses and create high-paying jobs. The greening of building #770 will serve as a model for other facilities and efficiencies in the park.
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission is responsible for developing, establishing, and overseeing the implementation of a public policy agenda for the state's four-year colleges and universities.
In November 2010, the state acquired the West Virginia Regional Technology Park from the Dow Chemical Company, adding significant capacity to the state's academic and economic development efforts. EDA funded a study in 2009 that provided strategic, long-term planning assistance for the park's development.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration:
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.