(a) There is hereby created an economic development entity known as the "center for regional progress" at Marshall University. The center shall be under the control and supervision of a director, which position is to be filled by an individual qualified by experience and education. The director shall be appointed by the president of Marshall University. The director may employ such staff as is necessary to accomplish the center's mission and purpose. The director shall have administrative control and supervision of the center. The center shall emphasize the creation of new jobs and the retention of existing jobs as the foundation necessary for the economic development of West Virginia. The center shall provide basic and applied research and technical assistance; counseling and referral service; graduate research and cooperative education programs; management and marketing assistance; continuing education, seminars, workshops; courses to meet both employer and employee educational needs; and such other activities as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this article. The center shall provide research and technical assistance to meet the economic and community development needs of local, municipal, county and state governments.
(b) The center shall upon request respond to public policy needs of the Legislature and the executive; and apply for and obtain grants or funds from all available sources, private and public, state, federal, and otherwise. The center shall maintain a roster of faculty and staff at Marshall University and other institutions of higher education from which specific expertise may be drawn.