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ARC awards nearly $21 million to revitalize coal-impacted communities; projects support innovation

March 17, 2022

Today the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded nearly $21 million for 21 projects impacting 211 counties through its POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, with many of the awards supporting innovation initiatives. The new projects will support entrepreneurship, workforce development and infrastructure among other efforts to create jobs, expand job and skills training, and attract new private investment in Appalachian communities affected by the downturn of the coal industry.

The projects are expected to create or retain nearly 1,200 jobs, leverage an additional $7.8 million in the Appalachian Region, and prepare over 14,000 workers and students for jobs in technology, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, tourism, and other sectors.

Among the winners is the University of Pittsburgh, an SSTI member, which was awarded a $490,487 grant to provide tuition scholarships and student support for qualified students to obtain the university’s new Applied Data-Driven Methods (ADDM) Certificate at its School of Computing & Information. The project is expected to place 45 students into the regional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce across 15 businesses.

Other innovation-related projects include a $1.35 million grant to the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) that will allow YBI and its partners to expand their work with small to medium enterprises (SMEs) across seven coal-impacted counties in northeastern Ohio, helping them in accessing capital, pursuing procurement opportunities, developing business plans, adopting advanced technologies (in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing settings), and supporting startup formation.

ARC also awarded a grant of $886,762 to the West Virginia Regional Technology Park Corporation in South Charleston, West Virginia, for the High-technology Advanced Manufacturing Initiative (HAMI) to provide training that will guide participants to manufacturing career opportunities and includes industry-recognized credentials, formal skill set certificates, a one-year Certificate of Applied Science degree, and an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Other projects include academic training focused on the growing industry sectors of healthcare, advanced manufacturing, technology, and transportation and logistics across the Kentucky-Tennessee-Virginia tristate area; expanding Kentucky programming designed to build the capacity of next-generation entrepreneurs; and, infusing virtual reality (VR) career exploration and job training simulations into the education-to-workforce pipeline in Mississippi.

With today’s awards, ARC has invested more than $316.6 million in 393 projects across 358 coal-impacted Appalachian counties since POWER’s establishment in 2015. 

appalachia, ARC, POWER