U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) applauds the Appalachian Regional Commission's (ARC) approval of approximately $8 million in Economic Diversification Awards to help expand and diversify the economy in the coalfields of southern and eastern Kentucky. The projects are expected to create or retain approximately 300 jobs and spur private investments. It's part of additional investments through the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative of nearly $26 million to create jobs and improve workforce development across five Appalachian states that have been hardest hit by the downturn of the coal industry.
"When times get tough, the ARC continues to stand in the gap for southern and eastern Kentucky and these investments show the agency's trusted partnership in reviving and rebuilding our region," said Congressman Rogers. "Our best days are ahead of us and these projects will specifically improve our addiction recovery efforts, workforce development, digital innovation tourism opportunities and job creation."
The 28 awards for Kentucky, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia are projected to create or retain more than 2,500 jobs and train more than 7,300 workers and students.
“These investments capitalize on the growing momentum for a diverse economy in Appalachia,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl. “They are strategic, collaborative and impactful plans to make Kentucky and the entire Appalachian Region more competitive in technology, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, broadband, health and a variety of other sectors.”
Kentucky's awards include:
$3.5 million ARC grant for Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Prestonsburg, Kentucky for the Eastern Kentucky Coal County Transformation Project, which will launch a workforce development program focused on building the digital economy across a 16-county region through the Big Sandy, Hazard, and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges. The project is expected to serve 300 trainees and improve operations of 30 existing businesses in the first two years of the award.
$1.5 million ARC grant to Hazard Community and Technical College to build an Intergenerational Training Center on the Lees College Campus in Jackson, Kentucky, which will train nearly 300 dislocated workers and credential 228 students over the life of the award.
$1.25 million ARC grant to the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation in London, Kentucky for the Kentucky Highlands Employment and Financial Training Program, which will support local entrepreneurs at both the start-up and expansion stages through a loan fund in 21 counties across the region The project is expected to create or retain 200 jobs.
$1 million ARC grant to Fahe - Federation of Appalachian housing enterprises - in Berea, Kentucky for the UPLIFT Appalachia Recovery Project, which will be used to finance three community addiction recovery facilities located in Louisa, Somerset and Jackson. The award will serve more than 5,000 patients and create or retain 63 jobs.
$500,000 ARC grant to the City of Whitesburg, Kentucky for the Whitesburg Daniel Boone Hotel Stabilization Project, which will restore and preserve the historic Daniel Boone Hotel, representing the City's rise after the arrival of railroads and the county's first coal mines. The project will create 23 jobs and is expected to attract approximately 10,000 new visitors every year.
For more information about each project, visit arc.gov.