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Switzerland of Ohio Local School District and Belmont College to receive $1.7M total for programming

Photo Provided A BELMONT College student in the HVAC program works on a unit during his internship for a local company.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Two local schools are in line to receive more than $1.7 million total for programming at their buildings.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, announced Thursday that Switzerland of Ohio Local School District and Belmont College both are receiving Appalachian Regional Commission’s Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization grants.

Switzerland of Ohio is receiving $1,314,800 for workforce development, and Belmont College is receiving $445,158 for its heating, ventilation and air conditioning training program.

“I am very pleased to support these economic investments across Eastern and Southeastern Ohio,” Johnson said. “This funding will support projects designed to create jobs and spur economic activity by investing in broadband deployment, recreational opportunities, and workforce training.

“This is further proof that the work of the Appalachian Regional Commission to bring much needed investment funding to our region is vital to economic opportunity here. I’m proud to continue supporting the ARC.”

According to information from the ARC, Switzerland’s grant money will help fund a collaboration between industry and education. It is aimed at helping people who are jobless, need more work, displaced workers and veterans in Southeastern Ohio and West Virginia “opportunity zones.”

“The initiative will enhance in-person and remote education and POWER workforce training programs centered at the Swiss Hills Career Center in Monroe County, enabling workers to obtain the skills and industry credentials necessary to access jobs in regional industry growth sectors, including healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and the transportation/automotive sectors,” according to ARC.

“The program will also serve high school students with classroom and online workforce training and internship opportunities, creating a youth workforce talent pipeline to benefit local businesses.”

The school district estimates the program will ultimately create 10 new businesses and 600 new jobs, along with retaining 200 existing jobs. It will provide technical assistance to 15 businesses, train 100 adult workers and 225 high school students.

Belmont College’s ARC grant will allow the school to expand its existing HVAC training program to help train at-risk youth. The school is partnering with Belmont County Drug Court and Youth

Services Systems in Wheeling for this endeavor.

“Additionally, 20 students in the Mental Health Studies Program at Belmont College will receive real-world experience by providing work support for drug court participants on a weekly basis,” according to ARC.

“This program will also allow Belmont College to offer traditional HVAC offerings by having equipment and trained instructors to provide additional classes in air quality and building management. The expansion of this HVAC program is expected to train 50 students annually.”

The two schools’ grants are just a small portion of the ARC’s $46.4 million in grants awarded to entities across Appalachia.

“POWER is a congressionally funded initiative that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal operations,” according to information from Johnson’s office.

ARC was founded in 1965.

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