Creating New Jobs Is Aim of Enhanced RCBI Network

With a goal of assisting West Virginia manufacturers and entrepreneurs in creating new jobs, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) has been awarded state funds to enhance its 21ST Century Manufacturing Network.

The automated improvements will be funded in part with a $29,930 grant from the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey’s Broadband Mapping Technical Assistance Initiative.

“Geography is a real barrier for West Virginia businesses located in isolated, rural areas,” said RCBI Director & CEO Charlotte Weber. “They don’t have easy access to industrial clusters, educational opportunities and business development resources that are available elsewhere.”

To help erase this barrier, RCBI created its 21ST Century Manufacturing Network, which electronically links nearly 560 businesses with technical assistance, bid opportunities that involve relevant prime contracts, skills training and other manufacturing and business resources. Participation in the RCBI 21ST Century Manufacturing Network is available at no cost.

“Now, in an effort to make this valuable resource even better,” Weber said, “RCBI will add the real-time interaction that 21st Century businesses demand. This will give users the ability to automatically ‘connect the dots’ for synergistic opportunities in manufacturing, product development, innovation and networking, as well as increased access to online training.”

The newly enhanced 21ST Century Advanced Manufacturing Interactive Network, Weber said, will “particularly target job creation and ramp up innovation commercialization by connecting valuable available assets in Additive Manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing technology.” By coming together on line, Weber said, “the network’s participants are able to share timely information about business opportunities, build bridges to real-world collaborations and, ultimately, combine their strengths to compete more effectively so they can succeed in the global market.”

For more information about RCBI’s automated, interactive network, call 800.469.RCBI or log on