USDA invests in MAMC’s expanding welding programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this month awarded a $550,211 grant to the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMC) to support workforce development and increase access to employment opportunities through the Rural Community Advancement Program.

“At USDA Rural Development we are advocates for, investors in, and partners to rural communities and the people, businesses, organizations and local governments within those communities,” said USDA Rural Development West Virginia State Director Ryan Thorn. “The investment announced [this month] will help ensure that graduates [of MAMC’s] welding program will enter their careers with the knowledge they need to succeed. It will increase access to good paying jobs and create brighter futures for our rural families.”

USDA’s investment will boost the continued growth of MAMC’s welding training programs. It will enable MAMC to purchase equipment for its new Advanced Welding & Robotics Training Center, to be housed in a renovated building on the former ACF Industries site in Huntington. When complete, the new center will double the capacity of MAMC’s Welding Technology Program, offered in partnership with Mountwest Community & Technical College.

“With the support of USDA and funding from Coalfield Development and the Huntington Municipal Development Authority through a U.S. Economic Development Administration Build Back Better grant to renovate the facility, we’ll finally be able to consolidate our career skills and customized welding initiatives under one roof and expand to meet the growing demand for skilled welders,” said MAMC Director Derek Scarbro.

“Our career skills training programs – both machining and welding – are full for fall 2023 term with a growing waiting list,” Scarbro said. “Meanwhile, area industry continues to express a need for more machinists and welders than we currently have the capacity to educate. This additional support will position us to expand our efforts to train people for in-demand jobs close to home.”

ACF Industries’ former machine shop will be rehabilitated, repurposed and expanded to become the permanent home of MAMC’s Welding Technology Program. The state-of-the-art facility will offer students and industry alike access to the latest welding techniques and technology, including robotic welding.

Scarbro said he also expects MAMC’s new welding center to become a regional hub for testing, credentialing and certifications offered by the American Welding Society (AWS) – as well as an economic catalyst for the region.

For more information about MAMCs Welding Technology Program or any of its career skills or customized training opportunities, visit or contact Carol Howerton, director of workforce programs, at or 304.781.1680.

July 8, 2023

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