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Commerce Secretary Locke Visits West Virginia Plant to Highlight Recovery Act Success, Job Creation, with Senator Rockefeller

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, October 23, 2009

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Commerce Secretary Locke Visits West Virginia Plant to Highlight Recovery Act Success, Job Creation, with Senator Rockefeller

Locke also announces $1.4 million grant for broadband mapping in West Virginia

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Simonton Windows in West Virginia with Senator Jay Rockefeller and Governor Joe Manchin today to celebrate the return of 200 employees to the company, thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Combining Recovery Act energy tax credits and their own example of smart investment to stimulate real growth, Simonton Windows was able to rehire workers it had previously laid off at West Virginia plants.

“All lay-offs are difficult,” Locke said. “But the ones here were particularly hard because the products that Simonton Windows produces are the type of state-of-the-art, energy-saving windows and doors that our economy needs to make more of. The fact that Simonton could rehire its employees is a real-life example of the Recovery Act helping to put people back to work.”

Rockefeller was a leading advocate in Congress for passage of the Recovery Act, and so far, $1.76 billion in Recovery Act funding has been allocated to West Virginia. Recovery Act money is helping to spur promising industries like clean energy and energy efficiency, which U.S. businesses like Simonton are benefiting from.

Locke also announced that West Virginia will receive a two-year, $1.4 million grant, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to map broadband access throughout the entire state, a tool that will help increase broadband deployment and provide consumers with better information on the services available to them.

“When communities and businesses have access to the information superhighway, it opens them up to new markets,” Locke said. “This program will further efforts to increase high-speed Internet deployment and adoption in West Virginia and nationwide, helping to chart the course for sustained economic recovery. That can help create good, family wage jobs right here in West Virginia.”

The grant comes from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program, designed to increase broadband access and adoption through better data collection and broadband planning. As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Rockefeller was a key force behind the creation of the broadband grant program in the Recovery Act.

Simonton Windows
Simonton Windows produces ENERGY STAR qualified replacement and new construction windows and doors, including a line of impact-resistant products. Founded in 1946, Simonton has delivered made-to-order products nationwide to key markets throughout the 48 continental United States. For more information, visit www.simonton.com.

State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program
The State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program is a matching grant program that implements the joint purposes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA). The program will provide grants to assist states or their designees in gathering and verifying state-specific data on the availability, speed, location and technology type of broadband services. The data they collect and compile will also be used to develop publicly-available state-wide broadband maps and to inform the comprehensive, interactive, and searchable national broadband map that NTIA is required by the Recovery Act to create and make publicly available by February 17, 2011. For more information, visit www.ntia.doc.gov.