ARC awards POWER grants to four Kentucky organizations

The Appalachian Wildlife Center, the Center for Rural Development, Hazard Community College and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College have been awarded POWER grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The projects were part of $26.5 million in POWER grants announced on October 11 by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Below is a recap of each project awarded in Appalachia Kentucky:

Appalachian Wildlife Center | $1,305,200 ARC grant to the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation, Inc. in Corbin, Ky., to install a wastewater treatment facility for the Appalachian Wildlife Center (the Center). The Center will be a major tourist attraction and a world-class education and research facility focused on wildlife conservation and re-use of reclaimed coal lands of Appalachia. Located on 19 miles of reclaimed mine land, the Center will feature the largest elk restoration and viewing effort in the United States and will boost tourism in a tri-state area. When fully operational, the Center expects to host over 835,000 annual paying attendees. The visitor center building will house classrooms, a museum of natural history and wildlife conservation, and a museum of regional history. An artisans’ market, display gallery, and work area will highlight regional artists. Following the project’s completion, 11 communities will be improved through revenues from tourism and 99 jobs will be created at the facility during the performance period. Additional funding for the Center is being provided through the Abandoned Mine Lands program of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the U.S. Department of the Interior

The Center for Rural Development | $1,000,000 ARC grant to the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, KY, to support the Center’s Community Oriented Access to Learning (COAL) program. This training program will serve 14 counties in southern and eastern Kentucky that have been severely impacted by the downturn of coal production. The program will assist unemployed and under-employed individuals from these communities in obtaining training and education that will support them in finding employment. Additionally, the program will benefit employers within the region by providing a more skilled workforce to meet growing workforce demands. The grant will support training and education in two growing sectors: Allied health and Information Technology. The COAL program will also offer much-needed soft skills training. The COAL program expects that 50 Allied health workers/trainees will obtain employment in a field related to their training, 110 Information Technology students will obtain employment and/or move into a higher level position based on the training they receive through this program, and 26 broadband technology students will obtain employment and/or continue their education.

Hazard Community and Technical College | $600,000 ARC grant to hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC) in hazard, KY, to expand the college’s welding technology program. HCTC’s welding technology program is operating at capacity and the demand generated by regional employers exceeds the resources available to the college. The grant will fund renovations, equipment, and personnel, serving at least 12 more students per cohort in each short-term training. The training is developed in consultation with area employers. At the end of the grant period, HCTC expects 70 workers/trainees will obtain a job in the field for which they were specifically trained and 60 students will complete the credit-bearing training program. The expansion of the welding program builds on a prior POWER grant to HCTC to expand its course offerings in four other career clusters.

Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College | $80,000 ARC grant to Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Cumberland, KY, for an assessment of investment opportunities in five Southeastern Kentucky counties (Bell, Harlan, Knott, Letcher, Perry), focusing on identifying redevelopment projects that also include potential entrepreneurship components. The assessment will include an executive summary that presents an overview of creative place-making in the five-county region, an economic and financial snapshot for each county, and investment case studies from within Southeastern Kentucky as well as from outside the region. The findings will yield a set of recommended investments and opportunities. Additionally, a communications strategy will be released to help market these opportunities to local communities, developers, and philanthropies. The assessment will tie in the work of six POWER-funded projects in the area.

“The investments made by the Appalachian Regional Commission validates the commitment, collaboration, and innovation taking place across Appalachia Kentucky,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR). “These grants will build capacity and transform lives and communities across our region. We are very grateful for the support of the Appalachian Regional Commission.”

Learn more about the POWER grant announcements HERE.