VC announces plans for $3.8 million EDA grant

CraneBetsy Betsy Crane

Victoria College has big plans to utilize the $3.8 million grant it recently received from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration.

The $4.75 million project, of which the EDA is funding 80 percent, will be matched with $950,000 in local investment to support expansion of VC’s industrial workforce training programs leading to employment in manufacturing, one of the highest-paying industries in the region.

“Being awarded the Economic Development Administration grant is a really big deal for Victoria College and our ability to continue to train the workforce needed for our local economy,” said VC President David Hinds. “A trained workforce is one of the first considerations for companies considering startup, relocation or expansion in our region. VC’s Electronics Technology, Instrumentation, Process Technology and Welding Programs will all benefit as we are able to complete a very important part of our current Facilities Master Plan.”

The grant will go toward a three-phase expansion project of Victoria College’s industrial trades programs. Phase 1 will be funded by Victoria College and will include relocating the Process Technology Program from the William Wood Building to the Industrial Training Center located at VC’s Emerging Technology Complex by the fall of 2020.

Phase 2, which will be funded by the EDA grant and matching VC funds, will include renovation of the William Wood Building.

“The renovation will allow us to increase enrollment capacity in welding and create unique spaces for each instrumentation and electronics technology lab,” said Sophia Kameitjo, VC’s grants development director. “The programs will also purchase nearly $400,000 worth of new equipment which will help align the quality of training with the skills employers expect of students who complete our programs.”

Completion of Phase 2 is targeted for the end of the 2021 calendar year.

Phase 3, which is pending future funding, will include improving the process technology training facilities at the Emerging Technology Complex with the potential addition of an outdoor plant simulation lab.

“Victoria College’s industrial trades programs provide a trained workforce for our area industry partners,” said Betsy Crane, dean of VC’s Division of Career and Technical Education. “This grant will enable the college to upgrade our industrial training facilities on the Main Campus and provide state-of-the art laboratory and learning classrooms for our students.”