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NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS

 

Appalachian County Economic Status Designations for Fiscal Year 2020 shows lowest number of designated distressed counties in over a decade.
ARC has released its County Economic Status Designations for Fiscal Year 2020, which annually ranks the economic status of each of the Region's 420 counties using a composite index formula drawing on national data. According to ARC's County Economic Status Designations for Fiscal Year 2020, 80 counties will be considered distressed, the lowest number of designated distressed counties since 2008. The County Economic Status Designations are primarily used to help the Region's 13 states develop economic investment strategies for the forthcoming year. Read the press release.
 
 

Legislative Update
On June 19, the U.S. House of Representative passed the FY20 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Act, which includes $170 million for ARC in the forthcoming fiscal year (the highest non-highway funding in ARC's history). This appropriation includes $50 million for POWER, $10 million to continue a program of broadband deployment in distressed counties in Central Appalachia, and $10 million for projects focused on workforce reentry strategies for Appalachians in long-term recovery from substance abuse disorder. The balance will fund ARC's regular programs. These are the same funding levels recommended by the House Appropriations Committee in May, 2019. Senate action remains pending.
 
 

In the Region This Week: June 20
In this issue: ARC Application Writing Workshop helps 70 local leaders, development professionals and community representatives in North Carolina learn how to craft stronger grant proposals; With ARC support, Genesee Valley School District launches on-site dental program to bring health care access to students - an important step in overcoming the county's low dental access rates. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

In the Region This Week: June 13
In this issue: ARC support helps Community Colleges of Appalachia double membership and hold its largest conference to date, during which regional colleges were honored for their outstanding initiatives; SWVA's 19 counties are finding economic boosts through natural and cultural assets. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

In the Region This Week: June 6
In this issue: ARC hosts 200+ at two free grant-writing workshops for DOL WORC grants, which offer up to $2.5 million for workforce development programs in Appalachia; ARC support helps Williamson, WV conduct broadband study to eventually enhance internet access across Mingo County. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

In Focus, June 2019: Charting Appalachia's Economic Growth
Dive into the 300,000 data points about Appalachia's socioeconomic experience in The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from the 2013–2017 American Community Survey, also known as "The Chartbook," and learn more about how this data is driving ARC research in this issue of In Focus: Issues and Ideas Shaping Development in Appalachia. Read more and subscribe.
 
 

ARC Accepting Research Proposals on Public Transportation Issues in Region's Rural Areas
ARC is now accepting proposals from qualified researchers and consultants to conduct research and provide guidance regarding public transportation in the Appalachian Region, with a particular focus on rural public transportation issues. This project will help ARC better understand the extent to which existing public transportation services are adequately creating or enhancing access for disadvantaged populations, particularly those in rural areas. Proposals are due on or before the close of business, July 12, 2019. Read the Request for Proposals.
 
 

In the Region This Week: May 30
In this issue: ARC Federal Co-Chair visits Tennessee investments, including an update on Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative's expansion of broadband into unconnected areas; ARC partner, Spark Center SC, helps a Spartanburg business resume operations just days after a 2017 tornado devastated their headquarters. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

Legislative Update
On May 21, 2019, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY20 Energy & Water Development Appropriations, which includes $170 million for ARC in the forthcoming fiscal year (the highest non-highway funding in ARC's history). Of this appropriation, $50 million is to continue the POWER Initiative to diversify the economy in Appalachia's coal-impacted communities, $10 million is to continue a program of broadband deployment in distressed counties in Central Appalachia, and $10 million is to focus on workplace re-entry strategies for those in long-term recovery from substance use disorder. The balance will fund ARC's regular programs. The House is expected to consider the full Appropriations bill in June. Senate action is pending.
 
 

In the Region This Week: May 23
In this issue: Over 300,000 data points about Appalachia's income, employment, as well as education, computer access, housing, and transportation and other indicators now available; POWER Initiative grantees gather in Athens, Ohio, to meet, learn, and share. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

Funding Opportunity Available for Workforce Development!
The U.S. Department of Labor is making $29 million available via the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) initiative to implement innovative approaches to provide enhanced training and support activities to dislocated workers, new entrants in the workforce, incumbent workers, and individuals affected by substance use disorder returning to work. Successful awards, ranging from $150,000 - $2.5 million, will support workforce development activities that prepare eligible participants for good jobs in high-demand occupations aligned with a state, regional, or community economic development strategy. Communities across Appalachia, especially those underserved by other resources, are encouraged to apply. Read the RFP, and register for free grant-writing workshops June 4 in Jamestown, New York, and June 6 in Johnson City, Tennessee
 
 

ARC Releases The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from 2013-2017
ARC released The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from the 2013-2017 American Community Survey, also known as "The Chartbook." Drawing from the American Community Survey and comparable Census Population Estimates, the report contains over 300,000 data points about Appalachia's demographics, income, employment, as well as education, computer access, housing, and transportation and other indicators. In addition to the report, ARC has released five companion fact sheets featuring Chartbook data. Read the press release.
 
 

In the Region This Week: May 16
In this issue: ARC's Substance Abuse Advisory Council holds inaugural meeting in Knoxville and begins developing recommendations for building recovery ecosystems; Webinar on shale manufacturing brings ARC partners and industry experts together to discuss the economic opportunities associated with the Utica and Marcellus shale basins. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

ARC Announces Substance Abuse Advisory Council
ARC has announced the formation of the Substance Abuse Advisory Council (SAAC) to develop recommendations for ARC to consider as part of a strategic plan to build and strengthen a recovery ecosystems in Appalachian communities. The 24 member volunteer advisory group represents each of the Region's 13 states, and includes leaders from law enforcement, recovery services, health, economic development, private industry, education, state government and other sectors. Read the press release.
 
 

In the Region This Week: May 9
In this issue: ARC celebrates Small Business and Infrastructure weeks by highlighting the importance of both to Appalachia's economic development; Using an ARC grant, Northampton Community College will train nearly 300 students for truck driving jobs in Pennsylvania. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

In the Region This Week: May 2
In this issue: ARC Federal Co-Chair joins South Carolina Department of Commerce to see investments at work, including several projects expanding local entrepreneurship; ARC POWER partner, Robert C. Byrd Institute?s Appalachian Hatchery, hosts an expo connecting local businesses in the auto industry supply chain with major automotive companies. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

In the Region This Week: April 25
In this issue: West Virginia Forest Products Cooperative uses an ARC POWER grant to create economic opportunities for regional forest products; New report uses ARC data to examine impacts of a declining coal industry in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

In the Region This Week: April 18
In this issue: ARC listens for solutions to the substance abuse crisis at sixth Recovery-to-Work listening session in Beckley, WV; With ARC support, the second annual RoboRave in Oxford, NY tripled in size, enabling more Appalachian students to develop skills for Industry 4.0 careers. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

Issue Brief Offers Practical Recommendations to Address Opioid Misuse
Health Disparities Related to Opioid Misuse in Appalachia is a new issue brief offering practical strategies, replicable best practices, and recommendations to help Appalachian communities address opioid misuse and overdose deaths. This brief is one of three capstone reports developed as part of, Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots, an ARC and Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky health research initiative, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Read the press release.
 
 

In the Region This Week: April 11
In this issue: ARC announces the Appalachian Leadership Institute, a professional and economic development training program that equips upcoming leaders with the tools needed to address the region's most pressing issues; the ARC-supported Lineman Training program at Somerset Community College celebrates 10 years of training over 1,100 students for careers in the utility industry. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.
 
 

ARC Announces Appalachian Leadership Institute
ARC is now accepting applications for the inaugural class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, a new leadership and economic development training opportunity for the Region's community leaders. The program includes an extensive nine-month curriculum focusing on skill-building, seminars, best practice reviews, field visits, mentoring, and networking. Eligible applicants include representatives from Appalachia's public, private and non-profit sectors who work and/or live in the Region. Applications are due June 1. Learn more at www.arc.gov/leadershipinstitute.
 
 

In the Region This Week: April 4
In this issue: ARC announces $3.36 million in new POWER investments to strengthen substance abuse recovery and create economic opportunities via agriculture in coal-impacted communities; Lenoir, NC uses ARC support to clear debris and pave a path toward economic development. Read more and subscribe to ARC's weekly snapshot.