Appalachian Regional Commission Announces $1.78 Million Investment to Strengthen Western North Carolina’s Economy

September 2016

Support Will Expand State’s Manufacturing Industry, Enhance Wi-Fi
Services in Rural Communities

Contact: Wendy Wasserman,; 202.884.7771
SPINDALE, NORTH CAROLINA, September 14, 2016—Today, Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl announced nearly $1.8 million in ARC investments to strengthen North Carolina’s economy by expanding manufacturing training programs and bolstering rural wi-fi capabilities. With these investments, the state’s Isothermal Community College and Southwestern Community College will be able to develop robust curricula and technical training in manufacturing related to the automotive and aerospace industries, and ten rural communities in western North Carolina will be able to offer enhanced wi-fi services to visitors, residents, and students.
Map showing location of ARC's grant investments in Appalachian North Carolina, September 2016
The ARC investments announced on September 14 include $272,000 in direct support to help ten rural western North Carolina communities expand wi-fi services to their downtowns.

“Creating strong curricula and training programs in the automotive and aerospace industries, and expanding wi-fi capabilities in rural communities, will bring new opportunities to North Carolina’s families and communities,” said Gohl. “These investments will help North Carolina’s Appalachian counties compete in a global economy.”

Gohl was joined by North Carolina Commerce Secretary John Skvarla, North Carolina Secretary of Information Technology Keith Werner, and North Carolina Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development Pat Mitchell for today’s announcement, which was made at Isothermal Community College in Spindale, North Carolina.

Isothermal Community College is receiving $987,940 from ARC for the Perception, Pathway and Project-Based Learning in Automotive and Aerospace Manufacturing project to enhance manufacturing-related curricula and career pathways in secondary and post-secondary institutions. ARC also announced $527,379 for the Southwestern Community College Pathways to Employment Education and Training for Automotive and Related Industries program in Swain, Jackson, and Macon Counties to develop pathway training for careers in advanced automotive manufacturing.

Ten North Carolina communities—including Bryson City, Forest City, Granite Falls, Hudson, Morganton, Rosman, Valdese, Walnut Cove, Wilkesboro, and the town of Rutherford College—will receive direct support to expand and increase wi-fi services to their downtowns. These investments, totaling $272,000, will benefit students, support Main Street development, attract visitors, and serve more than 415 businesses.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission ( is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 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. There are 29 North Carolina counties in the Region’s footprint.