ARC Awards $5.2+ Million to Create Workforce and Business Opportunities Across Seven Appalachian States

Two new ARISE grants will help prepare youth in West Virginia and Mississippi for careers in healthcare and manufacturing, and develop a plan to grow forest farming businesses across Central Appalachia.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2023—Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded two new grants totaling over $5.2 million through its new Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) funding opportunity, which drives large-scale economic transformation through multi-state collaboration:

  • A $4.7 million ARISE grant to Education Alliance will support a new project to mentor, train and prepare underserved high school students in West Virginia and Mississippi for careers in manufacturing and healthcare. In partnership with Toyota in West Virginia and Mississippi, West Virginia Jefferson Medical Center, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital/Children’s Hospital, and five county schools, the Education Alliance’s ARISE project seeks to transform the region’s workforce ecosystem to meet industry workforce needs and increase access to career exploration and training for underserved high school students and their families in Appalachia.
  • A $490,647 ARISE grant to Virginia Tech will support a planning project seeking to grow forest farming business ventures and the Non-Timber Forest Products supply chain across Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia. Virginia Tech is collaborating with 11 organizations across six states to develop the plan.

“I strongly believe that the key to transforming Appalachia’s economic vitality can be found in vision and collaboration across state lines,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “I’m encouraged by the way our newest ARISE grantees have come together to forge plans that will greatly increase workforce development and business ventures in ways that will positively affect the entire region.”

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is focused on building our economy from the bottom up and middle out, and today’s investments from the Appalachian Regional Commission will help drive economic development in the region for years to come,” said Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “These investments will support businesses, create good-paying jobs to meet industry workforce needs, and help hard-working Americans in underserved communities access new opportunities. It takes strong partnership at all levels of government and with the private sector and leaders in education to deliver for the people of Appalachia, and today’s announcement is a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together.”

“The new ARISE initiative is bringing together states across our region to drive innovation and progress,” said ARC 2023 States’ Co-Chair, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “In Kentucky, we believe in being good neighbors to one another. This program shows that being a good neighbor can also mean working across state lines. We know that when all of Appalachia succeeds, Kentucky succeeds as well.”

The projects are funded through ARISE, ARC’s new initiative to drive large-scale, regional economic transformation through multi-state collaborative projects across Appalachia. Making available $73.5 million provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, ARC launched ARISE in August of 2022 to strengthen Appalachian business and industry, and to grow and support the development of new economic opportunities across multiple states.

Earlier this year, ARC announced its first ARISE grant to Connect Humanity for a project that is helping 50 underserved communities in every subregion of Appalachia plan for broadband access and growth. ARC will announce additional ARISE grants in the coming months. Learn more about ARISE and the recent updates to the application process:

About the Appalachian Regional Commission 
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development entity of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.