WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman David Trone (all D-Md.) today announced the award of $200,000 for the Western Maryland Works (WMW) Allegany County Makerspace from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). In September, Van Hollen, Cardin, and Trone announced the initial $395,000 award to create the WMW Allegany County Makerspace.
These new funds will allow the Board of Commissioners of Allegany County and the Allegany College of Maryland to equip and enable the WMW Makerspace to train workers, especially those impacted by recent closure of the Verso Luke Paper Mill, for skilled careers in metal fabrication and manufacturing. Local funds will provide a matching $202,691, making total funding for the Makerspace $402,691.
“These federal funds will support an innovative local project to get Marylanders back to work,” said Senator Cardin. “Like our entire state, Allegany County’s economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also continues to recover from the regrettable and sudden closure of Luke Paper Mill. Guided by the leadership of Allegany County and Allegany College, the Western Maryland Works Makerspace will help dislocated workers to train for skilled careers within their communities.”
“The Western Maryland Works Makerspace is a crucial new resource for local job-seekers. This training hub will open the door for new opportunities to those in the job market – while driving more economic activity in the region. Since the closing of Luke Mill, we have fought to provide federal resources to combat the closure’s impact and support economic growth. We will continue working to create good paying jobs and strengthen Western Maryland’s economy,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committees.
“The closure of the Luke Mill last year devastated the town of Luke and surrounding communities. The Western Maryland Works Makerspace is an excellent addition to the region and will allow those impacted by the mill closure and the current economic crisis to have a new start in their careers,” said Congressman David Trone. “My colleagues and I will continue fighting for additional resources to help workers and families and to stimulate economic growth in Western Maryland.”
Congress established ARC in 1965. It serves as a regional economic development agency that operates as a partnership of the federal government and 13 state governments, focusing on 420 counties across Appalachia, according to ARC. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts. Van Hollen, Cardin, and Trone successfully secured significant funding for the program in the FY 2019 spending bill, including a $10 million increase from the FY18 level. The president had previously attempted to zero out funding for the program.