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April 06, 2021

FSU receives funding for Advance Technology Center

Credit: Cumberland Times-News, Brandon Glass

FROSTBURG — Frostburg State University has received $320,000 in federal and local matching funds for the Western Maryland Advanced Technology Center, which will be used to support workforce and economic development in the region.

“Investing in projects that spur innovation and create jobs is exactly how we’re going to help Western Maryland build back from the COVID pandemic,” said U.S. Rep. David Trone. “I look forward to seeing how the partnership between Frostburg State University and the Western Maryland Advanced Technology Center will change our community for the better.”

The federal funding comes from the Appalachian Regional Commission, and will be used to purchase workforce training equipment.

The application process for the money is an ongoing cycle, the university submitted the formal application a few months ago, but has been in contact with Appalachian Regional Commission for some time, said Al Delia, vice president for Regional Development and Engagement at Frostburg State University.

The Advanced Technology Center is an evolution from what started as a task force appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan, which was to explore the possibility of establishing an autonomous vehicle facility in Western Maryland.

However, the task force came to the conclusion that building an autonomous vehicle facility would not be the smartest move, said Delia, as it would cost in the range of $30 million to $40 million in infrastructure where there were already other states doing the same and the pool of potential users was limited.

A consultant was hired to see how the facility could evolve.

“What came back from that work was there’s a real opportunity here in terms of advanced technologies, not just in the kind of small sliver of autonomous technology, that would include cybersecurity, clean energy, biosciences and so forth — all of which can play a part in autonomous technology,” said Delia.