WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman David Trone (all D-Md.) today announced more than $395,000 in federal funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for the Western Maryland Works (WMW) Allegany County Maker Space. The new Cumberland center will house training programs in advanced manufacturing and other sectors, office space for selected start-ups, a collaborative work space for the community, and classes taught by Small Business Development Center staff. Combined with $44,000 in additional funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and $352,000 in local funding, this award will be used to purchase computers, electronic classroom systems, and other equipment for a newly renovated building.
The primary tenant, Allegany College of Maryland’s Continuing Education & Workforce Development Industrial Manufacturing program, will provide workforce training in machining, welding and industrial maintenance. 68 trainees and four start-ups are expected in the first year of operation.
“This innovative center will serve as an effective resource for Allegany County residents and will stimulate our local and state economy. Easily accessible opportunities will allow residents to develop their skills and business acumen to succeed in growing industries. I look forward to witnessing how this project develops over time,” said Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee.
“Providing accessible job-training is one of the best ways to grow our economy and expand our skilled-workforce. This new center will support local job-seekers and entrepreneurs with important resources and an opportunity improve and hone their skills. Innovative programs like these will help Maryland’s economy continue to succeed, and I will keep working to provide investments in economic opportunity across our state,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committees.
“It is imperative that we invest in our workforce and small businesses to grow our local economies,” said Congressman David Trone, member of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee. With this grant, Allegany County residents can get the training they need to better engage in the workforce of the future. I will continue to fight in Congress to secure funding for further community workforce development programs.”
“We are excited to begin this project, which has been realized with local, state, and federal funds. Western Maryland Works will promote growth and help retain talent locally,” said President of the Allegany County Board of Commissioners Jake Shade.
Established in 1965, ARC is a regional economic development agency that represents 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. Senators Cardin and Van Hollen and Congressman Trone advocated and 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.