ARC announces more than $12M in POWER grants

Published 9:51 am Friday, February 22, 2019

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced more than $12 million in funding, through its POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, for Appalachia Kentucky projects.

“I want to personally thank [Federal Co-Chair] Tim Thomas and his team at the ARC for their continued support and investment in transformative projects throughout the region,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR). “None of this would not be possible without the support of Congressman Rogers, Gov. Bevin, Sen. McConnell and Sen. Paul..”

The announcement of funding projects, Arnett said, align strategically with SOAR’s Regional Blueprint, a comprehensive plan to drive innovation, development, and transformative change throughout Appalachia Kentucky.

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“The projects awarded represent a wide-array of sectors, but they share the common theme of transformation,” added Arnett. “We look forward to working with these organizations to bring new opportunities to the people of Appalachia Kentucky.

SOAR Cornerstone Partner the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) was awarded $1,461,078 ARC grant for its Eastern Kentucky Addiction Recovery & Training Program (eKART). EKCEP is partnering with Sullivan University and Addiction Recovery Care to implement the eKART program, which will bridge the gap between addiction recovery and productive participation in the workforce for individuals in recovery.

The program will provide valuable career training and supportive services, as well as cultivate second-chance job opportunities. This project will provide regional businesses with information on ways to provide a supportive environment for employees in recovery, increasing the opportunities for work-based training and apprenticeships, while also partnering with treatment providers to identify and recruit recovering individuals appropriate for those opportunities.

Sullivan University, which is successfully training individuals in recovery to become Peer Support Specialists, will enable participants to return to the workforce in jobs where they can help other individuals enter and complete recovery.

The project will train 65 new peer support specialists and at least 125 individuals in recovery will re-enter the Eastern Kentucky workforce. Sixty-three businesses will be certified as recovery-friendly workplaces.

The Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation, a Blueprint Partner of SOAR, was awarded $1,301,983 to expand the reach and capacity of the Supplier Education and Economic Development (SEED) Program. The project’s training and support services will improve the competitiveness of manufacturing companies in coal-impacted counties of eastern Kentucky and will help them acquire the competence needed to win government and private contracts.

Key partners in the project are Advantage Kentucky Alliance (AKA), which will provide the training, and the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center (KY PTAC), which will assist participating companies in developing new business with Department of Defense prime contractors. The project expects to create 350 jobs and leverage $3 million in private investment.

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), an East Kentucky Partner of SOAR, was awarded $1,463,927 for the Appalachia Aviation Maintenance Technician Training project. In partnership with two community colleges and regional airports, EKU will create an aviation maintenance technician program at multiple campuses in eastern Kentucky.

Identifying a growing employment sector, the project responds to the need for economic diversification, job creation, and workforce development within Kentucky’s Appalachian counties. Each aviation maintenance technician cohort will begin training in classrooms at the Richmond EKU campus and two of Eastern Kentucky University’s regional campuses, Hazard Community & Technical College and Big Sandy Community & Technical College.

Each is strategically chosen for its proximity to a partnering regional airport. Once trainees fulfill basic coursework requirements inside the traditional classroom setting, the training will move to the regional airports for hands-on work training. The program will yield industry-recognized certification and will serve 86 workers/trainees, all of whom will be certified and employed as aviation maintenance technicians.

Other awardees were:

•$1,677,529 ARC grant to The Fletcher Group in Lexington for the Recovery, Hope, Opportunity and Resiliency program (RHOAR), which will address the challenges of unemployment and opioid use in eastern Kentucky by establishing new addiction recovery programs.

•$1,500,000 to the East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Inc. in Paintsville for the eKAMI Workforce Development Program. Through eKAMI’s basic program dislocated, unemployed, and underemployed adults receive training in the CNC machining industry leading to certifications on Haas equipment.

•$1,000,000 to Fahe Inc. in Berea for the Second Chance Employment project, which will create a stronger second-chance employment market for those in recovery from addiction in eastern Kentucky. Fahe will work with local employers in six coal-impacted counties (Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Rockcastle, Laurel and Pulaski) to expand successful reemployment models by creating opportunities for business owners to become part of the solution, and by enabling Kentuckians in recovery to craft a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities.

•$867,582 to the Appalachian Artisan Center, Inc. in Hindman for the Troublesome Creek Stringed Instruments Company.

•$833,670 to the Housing Development Alliance, Inc. in Hazard for the Hope Building program.

•$76,000 to the Lewis County Fiscal Court in Vanceburg for the Lewis County Broadband Strategic Plan and Feasibility Study.

•$50,000 to the Carr Creek Alumni Association in Littcarr for The Magic of Carr Creek: A Community Revitalization Project.