Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 22, 2012

Technology upgrade — Federal funds boost BSC

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— n this age of bipartisan gridlock, earmark bans and budget belt-tightening, it is becoming increasingly rare to see headlines proclaiming federal funding awards for local agencies and projects.

That’s why Thursday’s announcement of a $1.2 million federal funding infusion for Bluefield State College and a $3 million award to New River Community and Technical College is of particular importance.

Bluefield State College was awarded a five-year federal grant and will receive $1,209,548 for the first year, according to U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. Rahall also announced a $3 million grant for New River Community and Technical College to substantially enlarge its nursing and allied health care program to transition West Virginia workers and returning veterans into high skill, high growth jobs.

As part of the five-year grant awarded to Bluefield State College, additional funding will be received by the school in the next four years. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen academic resources, management capabilities, and education programs.

Newly appointed Bluefield State President Dr. Marsha Krotseng says the funding will not only help those enrolled at Bluefield State College, but students across southern West Virginia.

“We are just thrilled at this announcement because it will provide the college with an exceptional opportunity to enhance the quality of education to current students and expand access to students across southern West Virginia,” Krotseng said. “The funding will allow us the ability to use the technology we already have in our classrooms as well as help us continue what we are doing for our students.”

“New River continues to advance educational services to southeastern West Virginia by finding creative solutions to funding needed educational programs and services,” New River President Dr. Ted D. Spring added in reference to the $3 million funding award. “This grant will significantly impact our ability to deliver the highest quality of allied health training programs in the region. Without these funds, New River's ability to respond to employment demand in health care would not be possible.”

The BSC funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program for equalizing educational opportunities and ensuring access to post-secondary education and lifelong learning. The New River funding was made available through the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program for New River’s “Allied Health in Southeastern West Virginia” project.

At Bluefield State College, the federal dollars will specifically be used to enhance Bluefield State’s upgrades to computer literacy and technology programs by providing computers, networking, distance learning technology, support services and training opportunities. Additionally, the upgrades will benefit other technologies already in place at Bluefield State, including electronic classrooms, professional development, student leadership development, institutional research, academic outreach, tutoring, and library resources.

The federal funding investments in Bluefield State College and New River Community and Technical College are welcomed.

The individual funding awards should go a long ways toward helping students across southern West Virginia.