With each new year comes new opportunities — and the Wyoming County Economic Development team has a lot to look forward to in 2023. This year, you can expect to see lots of exciting growth in our county with new industries, new jobs, and new partnerships.
On Monday, January 9, 2023, Microsoft founder and energy investor, Bill Gates, joined the U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and a group of West Virginian leaders across various industries, including Wyoming County EDA Executive Director Christy Laxton, to talk about the future of sustainable energy in our region during the “America’s Energy Powerhouse: West Virginia’s Role in the Future of Energy” event at the Clay Center in Charleston.
During his visit, Gates also toured Glasgow’s closed AEP power plant in Kanawha County, exploring the general potential of existing facilities that could play an important role in future alternative energy developments. By diversifying our energy sector, West Virginia can create space for more opportunities, new economic development, and new jobs.
Wyoming County’s AmeriCarbon project is moving forward! On January 10, after receiving the USEDA’s notice to proceed with the AmeriCarbon project, the EDA team met with representatives from AmeriCarbon and Thrasher Engineering, the firm that will be spearheading construction and site development.
The design phase is planned to be completed by September 2023. Construction will also begin in September and be completed over a 15-month period. We anticipate that the buildings will be ready for occupancy by January 2025. The facility’s future location will be in the Barkers Creek Industrial Park.
Last month, the Wyoming County EDA met with incoming investors from Omnis Sublimation Recovery Technologies (OSRT) to discuss plans at the future site of its operations. The facility’s future location will be announced in the next few months.
In November, Governor Jim Justice announced that OSRT is investing $60 million in Wyoming County to establish operations extracting rare earth metals for electronic devices — such as cell phones and computers — from coal waste impoundments. The technology that OSRT has developed does not use acids or harmful chemicals, and it recovers 100% of the metals with zero waste and no harmful emissions.
The OSRT investment will be accompanied by 100 well-paid jobs. The Wyoming County EDA is currently exploring ways to optimize this major employment opportunity by partnering with local colleges and career training centers to offer training programs tailored to the incoming business’ needs.
At this time, all paperwork regarding the Barkers Creek Industrial Park’s bridge and power grid projects have been submitted for HUD contracts. The Wyoming County EDA has issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) and is open to receiving applications from engineering firms for bridge construction. AEP will be leading the power grid update project. Firm selection, however, will not take place until all contracts have been completed.
The Wyoming County EDA has been approved to distribute $125,000 to a manufacturing business in Cabell County, with SSBCI funds accounting for $62,500 of the total investment.
The Wyoming County EDA will be exploring potential workforce opportunities and training with regional institutions ahead of the incoming AmeriCarbon and OSRT operations. West Virginia has no shortage of hard workers and training resources. The development of specialized training programs tailored to these manufacturers could help prepare our workforce for their future in these fields and keep local jobs local!
As president of the West Virginia Economic Development Council, Executive Director, Christy Laxton, will be attending the WVEDC Legislative Conference in Charleston later this month. Check back in February for an event recap!
The annual Wyoming County Writers Contest is officially open to submissions! This contest, funded by esteemed writer and fellow Wyoming Countian, Lonnie Bailey, is open to Wyoming County residents and in grades 1-12 or 18+ years of age to qualify.
See entry guidelines and prompt ideas here.
Each submitted original work must be centered around Wyoming County’s history and culture. Cash prizes will be awarded in categories (Elementary, Middle School, High School and Adult).
Applications for the annual Wyoming County Community Fund Scholarship will begin accepting applications in February. This year’s award will be the 13th scholarship to be given. The contest is open to local high school seniors or adults who wish to pursue higher education or technical career. Entrants must be a Wyoming County resident.
The Wyoming County EDA has an incredible lineup of projects and collaborations ahead, and we are looking forward to all the great things on the horizon!
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