U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Ala., yesterday, applauded the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announcement regarding a grant for Wallace State Community College–Hanceville (WSCC) in the amount of $1,169,958 for the Supporting Electric Vehicle Manufacturing and Maintenance in North Alabama project. The grant will be awarded through ARC’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative and will provide funding for on-the-job training and the procurement of necessary certifications for students and workers, creating a talent pipeline for careers in the electric vehicle (EV) field.
“The Appalachian Regional Commission has been an integral partner in promoting workforce development in Alabama, and today’s announcement reaffirms ARC’s commitment to helping our state prosper,” said Senator Shelby. “I look forward to the many benefits expected to stem from this investment. A well-trained workforce is key to fueling Alabama’s economy.”
Based on a previous ARC POWER-funded study of automotive manufacturing in North-Central Alabama, this roughly $1.17 million grant will allow WSCC to update its Mechatronics Program and create new EV programs in its Automotive Services and Diesel Technician programs to include the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by the industry. WSCC will partner with the American Trucking Association, Freightliner, Kenworth, and Mercedes-Benz to bring its mechatronics, automotive services, and diesel technician programs into alignment with EV needs. By the third year of programming, WSCC will serve 230 students and prepare workers for new employment opportunities in an area that has experienced a loss of jobs in the coal sector.
ARC’s POWER grant program is a congressionally-funded initiative that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production.