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ARC announces $26.5M in POWER grants

October 18, 2018

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced its latest round of grants for Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER). The 35 grants totaling $26.5 million support workforce training and education in manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and other industry sectors; invest in infrastructure enhancements to continue developing the region's tourism, entrepreneurial, and agriculture sectors; and, increase access to community-based capital, including impact-investing funds, venture capital, and angel investment streams. The awards are projected to create or retain over 5,400 jobs and leverage more than $193 million in private investment into 59 Appalachian counties.

A few of the awards (with SSTI members in boldface) are highlighted here:

  • $1,750,000 ARC grant to the Alabama Community College System in Montgomery, Alabama, for the Alabama S.T.R.O.N.G. (Skills Training to support Real Opportunities for New job Growth) project, which seeks to increase awareness about the current and future job opportunities available in the advanced manufacturing sector, a growing part of the regional economy.
  • $1,500,000 ARC grant to the Volunteer Energy Cooperative in Decatur, Tennessee, for the Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation Ecosystem Project. This project involves the buildout of an Internet of Things ecosystem.Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC) is developing the IoT technology platform by deploying fiber optic broadband and smart grid technology to improve real time management of power supply and demand. These investments will drive the prototyping of technology solutions by innovation partners like Tennessee Tech University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory. Viable solutions can be further developed and commercialized by entrepreneurial clients of the Biz Foundry and other entrepreneur centers in the Launch Tennessee network.
  • $1,035,000 ARC grant to Innovation Works, Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the Western Pennsylvania Small Business Services for Coal-Impacted Communities (SBS) program. The SBS is a joint initiative of Innovation Works/Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania, and the University of Pittsburgh's Institute of Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE). Together, they will provide opportunities through co-working spaces, accelerators, and incubators to service business owners, independent contractors, and entrepreneurs in communities where there are limited resources.
  • $750,000 ARC grant to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, for the Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE) program. The project focuses on several key areas, including entrepreneurial and business development, creating a ready workforce, building critical infrastructure (such as broadband), leveraging cultural assets to stimulate economic activity, building capacity for social enterprises, and convening and facilitating impact investors’ investments in the region.
  • $730,559 ARC grant to the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District in Starkville, Mississippi, to support a project that will diversify the economy by building a competitive manufacturing workforce.


To date, ARC has awarded $120 million through the POWER Initiative to help coal-impacted communities in 309 Appalachian counties diversify and grow their economies. 

Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, TennesseePOWER, ARC, economic development