HCC gains $2 million USDC grant

Published 12:08 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2017


WELDON – A $2 million Economic Development Administration grant will help Halifax Community College build an advanced manufacturing and corporate training center.

HCC President Michael Elam said on Thursday of last week that the grant will double the school’s welding program and expand other programs within its industrial systems curriculum.

The United States Department of Commerce (USDC) announced the awarding of the grant on Dec. 21.

The department said in a news release the project is expected to create more than 120 jobs and nearly $19 million in private investment.

“A key focus of the Trump Administration is ensuring that American workers have the skills to succeed in the face of global competition,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in the statement. “The new Halifax Community College Advanced Manufacturing and Corporate Training Center will help provide local businesses with an able workforce, stimulating future growth in the community.”

The department said the training center will house curriculum and short-term training programs for industrial systems technology, welding technology, and automotive systems technology.

It will also serve as a venue where area businesses and industries can upgrade the skills of their current employees as well as new hires, and schedule other training needs.

“I’m just elated,” Elam said. “It’s a great opportunity for the county and the college.”

The grant will allow the college to expand the welding area and its industrial systems program which includes solar training, robotics and computer training, Elam said.

The grant could also lead to an expansion of the school’s automotive technology area, which could lead to programs in diesel technology.

“It will create initial construction jobs,” Elam said. “In terms of long-term plans, we will be able to provide training for a lot of people for jobs they can keep.”

Elam is hopeful the grant will allow the college to initiate an HVAC program.

First, however, he said, “Now we have to focus on the planning process. We’re two years from planning to construction. It’s a two-year timeframe. If everything goes ideally we’ll work through 2019 to 2020 when we ought to be able to have a ribbon-cutting.”

According to the news release, the project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments.

EDA funds Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

(Lance Martin is the Editor and Publisher of www.rrspin.com. Permission was received to publish this story.)