The Victoria County Junior College District will receive a $3.8 million grant from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to support the expansion of its industrial workforce training program.
In an announcement Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the Economic Development Administration grant will be matched with $950,000 in local investment and is expected to help create or retain more than 1,670 jobs.
“The Trump Administration is working aggressively helping areas impacted by natural disasters to rebuild, both in terms of infrastructure and the local workforce,” Ross said in a statement. “This project for Victoria College will help buttress the workforce and prepare the local community for future jobs.”
This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, in which Congress appropriated to the Economic Development Administration $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance funds for disaster relief and recovery after several natural disasters in 2017.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the project strengthens the regional economy with new training and a better-skilled workforce as the area works to recover from the damage of Hurricane Harvey. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission.
“To ensure the Texas economy continues to expand, we must invest in training programs that give our workers the skills they need to compete and win in the 21st century economy,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in the news release.
The funding announced Tuesday will serve a designated Opportunity Zone created by the president’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically distressed communities nationwide.
In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an investment priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas.
“Victoria has come a long way since Hurricane Harvey, and a continued recovery depends on economic development and rebuilding our local industries,” Congressman Michael Cloud said in the news release. “The expansion of the workforce training program gives our community more educational opportunities and creates jobs. I’m looking forward to seeing the resulting economic growth.”