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NETL Hosts W.Va. Manufacturers to Discuss Regional Workforce Initiative
NETL Hosts W.Va. Manufacturers to Discuss Regional Workforce Initiative

A delegation of visitors from the West Virginia Manufacturers Association (WVMA) and the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) learned more about NETL’s Regional Workforce Initiative (RWFI) during a tour and visit to the Laboratory’s Morgantown site.

NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., said that energy and advanced manufacturing jobs support millions of direct and indirect jobs in the US economy.

“Helping to build a trained workforce is a critical component of a vibrant economy,” he said. “Our Regional Workforce Initiative works to identify skills and training gaps that hamper creation of energy and advanced manufacturing jobs. Then, RWFI helps provide opportunities to leverage federal activities that can bolster an effective workforce infrastructure in the Appalachian region.”

He said the West Virginia visitors toured NETL facilities and held talks to learn more about how NETL’s work connects economic development stakeholders to activities within the Laboratory, the Department of Energy and other federal agencies in support of economic development activities that are related to energy and advanced manufacturing.

The WVMA represents manufacturers from across West Virginia and provides access to experts in a wide range of specific areas related to manufacturing success. According to the association, manufacturers in West Virginia help drive the state’s economy and account for 9.88 percent of the total output in the state, employing 6.44 percent of the workforce.

RCBI, based at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia with three additional locations throughout the Mountain State, encourages job creation, economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting manufacturing companies of all sizes. The Institute offers leading-edge equipment use and specialized training and uses Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers across the state to provide resources to create, enhance and expand. The Institute studies the critical issues facing manufacturing and then applies that research to develop and identify solutions that are implemented by companies, schools, governments, and organizations across the country.

One of the key activities of NETL’s RWFI is linking regional stakeholders to share related projects and missions by hosting webinars on specific topics related to workforce and by hosting in-person lab tours and meetings with NETL researchers and partnership groups staff. RWFI holds webinars on energy and advance manufacturing topics, conducts background briefings, partners with regional workforce entities on funding opportunities and encourages collaboration and coordination with other reginal federal, national and regional workforce initiatives.