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Success Story: Hitting the Ground Running: Assistant Secretary Castillo Visits West Virginia and Colorado on First Week in Office

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Assistant Secretary Castillo and Senators Manchin and Capito engage with Generation West Virginia NewForce program participants.

Assistant Secretary Alejandra Castillo hit the ground running after being sworn in on August 13, visiting West Virginia and Colorado during her first week in office.

On August 17, Assistant Secretary Castillo joined U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito in Huntington, West Virginia, where they first visited Generation West Virginia, a statewide organization dedicated to attracting, retaining, and advancing young people in the state.

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Assistant Secretary Castillo at RCBI for Grant Announcement Event.

They participated in a roundtable discussion on the energy transition and its economic impact on the state and heard from participants in Generation West Virginia’s NewForce online learning program about how NewForce is helping diversify the economy by training and placing participants into high-tech software development positions. NewForce is a tuition-free, remote, team-based intensive tech training program that equips graduates with in-demand software development skills and direct access to in-demand jobs.

The group then moved to Marshall University’s Robert C. Byrd Institute, where they announced $2.65 million in EDA grants focused on supporting West Virginia business development and workforce training efforts.

These grants included a $1.3 million grant to Advantage Valley, Inc. to provide technical assistance to manufacturing, engineering, and other businesses in a nine-county region; a $762,350 grant to expand Generation West Virginia’s NewForce program; and a $592,000 investment in Future of Nursing West Virginia to expand the West Virginia Nursing Entrepreneur Program to give nurses the skills they need to launch health-related businesses.

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Assistant Secretary Castillo in Telluride with NADO Board of Directors members and staff.

These awards are a great example of what communities can do under EDA’s new American Rescue Plan programs; particularly the $300 million Coal Communities Commitment. This investment will ensure that coal communities have the resources they need to recover from the pandemic and will help create new jobs and opportunities. Read EDA’s West Virginia grant announcement press release.

Following her West Virginia visit, Assistant Secretary Castillo visited Colorado, where she addressed the National Association of Development Organization’s 2021 Board of Directors meeting on August 18. She reaffirmed EDA’s commitment to working with Economic Development Districts across the nation to accelerate economic recovery efforts. She later visited EDA investment sites in Colorado’s West End region.

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