Home » Appalachian Regional Commission awards $9M to Eastern Kentucky projects

Appalachian Regional Commission awards $9M to Eastern Kentucky projects

$3.5 million for Eastern Kentucky Coal County Transformation project

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2017) — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) last week announced nearly $26 million to expand and diversify the economy in coal-impacted communities in five Appalachian states, including several projects in Eastern Kentucky.

The 28 awards are projected to train more than 7,300 workers and students impacted by the changing coal economy in certificate, credentialing, and other workforce development programs. They will also create or retain more than 2,500 jobs, leverage an additional $31 million from public and private investors, and create a more vibrant economic future for Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities.

Big Sandy Community and Technical College, $3.5 million for the Eastern Kentucky Coal County Transformation project

The ARC award will enable three Eastern Kentucky education institutions—Big Sandy, Hazard Community and Technical College, and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College—to launch a comprehensive, employer-driven workforce development program focused on building the digital economy and strengthening digital innovation and entrepreneurship across a 16-county region in eastern Kentucky. The consortium—in partnership with Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP)—will establish educational programs that develop workforce skills in emerging regional career clusters such as cybersecurity, medical coding, and advanced manufacturing. The program will specifically engage dislocated workers from the coal industry through targeted advertisements, and will provide adult basic education as needed to ensure that these individuals can participate in the training courses. In addition, to support the development of a technology-driven economy beyond classroom training, the program will identify and promote a number of digital innovation hubs, providing facilities and resources to encourage entrepreneurial activities. Success coaches will be available to instill critical 21st century skills and provide support to nascent technology workers, and a Regional Committee will be established to monitor industry trends and best practices. The project will serve 300 trainees and improve the operations of 30 existing businesses in the first two years of the award, and will lay the groundwork for the development of a vibrant and lasting digital economy in eastern Kentucky

$1.5 million ARC grant to Hazard Community and Technical College for the Intergenerational Training Center

ARC funds will be used to construct a 14,700 square foot facility at HCTC’s Lees College Campus in Jackson that will deliver job training and credentialing courses focused around four emerging regional career clusters: information technology, telemedicine and health sciences, mechatronics, and eco-tourism/small business development. The project will leverage the capacity of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Inc. (EKCEP) and the Kentucky Career Center to promote and market the program to out-of-school youth and displaced and underemployed workers impacted by the decline in the coal industry. The project will serve a seven-county area in southeastern Kentucky, and will train 295 dislocated workers and credential 228 students over the life of the award

$1.29 million ARC grant to Maysville Community and Technical College for the KYWV Regional Drone Technology Workforce Project

MCTC will partner with Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College to deliver comprehensive training courses in small-air drone operation to a seven-county area in southern West Virginia and a 13-county area in northeastern Kentucky. Specific training activities will enable graduates to operate drones and drone sensors to provide in-demand commercial services — such as the close-up inspection of fixed structures like power lines, utility poles, and cell phone towers. The project will serve 100 trainees over the two-year life of the award, will leverage $14,000,000 in private investment, and will, in conjunction with a previous ARC POWER award, further strengthen the emerging drone industry cluster in the West Virginia-KentuckyVirginia tri-state area.

$1.25 million ARC grant to the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation for the Kentucky Highlands Employment and Financial Training Program

The ARC award will capitalize a loan fund to enable Kentucky Highlands to invest in local entrepreneurs at both the start-up and expansion stages of companies located across 21 southeastern Kentucky counties. In addition, ARC’s award will engage the Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU) to expand their portfolio of financial literacy services to the project’s service territory. Specifically, ACFCU programs will increase financial knowledge, security, and wellness through the provision of credit builder loans, debt consolidation loans, payday alternative loans, affordable non-prime auto loans, and 80/20 mortgage loans. The project will create or retain 200 jobs and leverage $2,250,000 in private investment.

$1 million ARC grant to the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE) in Berea for the UPLIFT Appalachia Recovery project

The ARC award will be used to finance three community recovery facilities that will support residents’ recovery from addiction, provide needed health services, and create job opportunities in coal-impacted communities. These facilities will primarily serve three eastern Kentucky counties – each of which is located within the federally designated USDA Strike Force Zone. Specifically, the award will facilitate the development of a housing facility in Louisa that works with patients for 2-3 years and focuses on transitioning them from the center’s care directly into an internship or job; assist in the creation of a 100-bed facility in Somerset that employs a peer-based care model in which patients in different stages of recovery work together to get and remain sober; and enable an existing facility in Jackson to expand their services to an additional 990 people, to build a dental clinic, and to partner with the University of Pikeville for optometry care. The award will serve 5,060 patients, create or retain 63 jobs, and will leverage investment from USDA’s Uplift America program and private investors.

$500,000 ARC grant to the City of Whitesburg for the Whitesburg Daniel Boone Hotel Stabilization project

ARC funds will be utilized to make immediate and urgent repairs to stabilize the historic, brick Daniel Boone Hotel — which represents the City’s rise after the arrival of railroads and the opening of the region’s coalfields. The hotel is a central component of Whitesburg’s economic development future and revitalization plans. After the structure is stabilized and renovated, it will be a regional destination and economic driver. The project will create 23 jobs, leverage $2,000,000 in private investment, and will attract 9,900 additional visitors annually to the area.