$4.7 million coming to eastern Kentucky coal communities

The money is designed to boost healthcare, workforce training, tourism and leadership development in the region

WASHINGTON, DC (WTVQ) – The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is investing $4.7 million in projects to boost healthcare, workforce training, tourism and leadership development in eastern Kentucky coal communities.

The funding is part of the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce Economic Revitalization) Initiative for coal communities.  The money was included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2022 that passed into law last week.

“These four investments will have a far reach across southern and eastern Kentucky, creating 280 new jobs, preparing 630 students for college credentials or diplomas, and building a stronger region with better healthcare, a better workforce, more tourism opportunities, and preparing the next generation of leaders,” said Republican Congressman Hal Rogers, of Somerset.  “I applaud the ARC for continuing to invest in projects that are revitalizing our communities and paving the way for a brighter future in Kentucky’s Appalachian region.”

“We are so excited to award this new round of funding for Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “The partnerships forged through POWER projects help transform economies across county and state lines to help build a more resilient, thriving Appalachia. When the Appalachian region’s coal-impacted communities succeed, the rest of our country is made stronger.”

The following ARC POWER grants were awarded in Kentucky:

  • $1.5 million was awarded to Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Advanced Care, Inc. in Hazard, Kentucky for the Addition of Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals in Eastern Kentucky project. 

    This project will furnish equipment for two long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs). One hospital will be located inside the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center in Perry County and the other inside the Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center in Pike County. The two new LTACHs will provide long-term acute care in 13 Eastern Kentucky counties for patients with serious medical conditions who require care on an ongoing basis but do not require intensive care or extensive diagnostic procedures performed in a hospital. Project activities are expected to create 156 jobs and serve 330 patients in the first year.

  • $1.5 million was awarded to the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKCTC) for the Success Initiative at the Work Ready Training Center (WRTC) in Cumberland, Kentucky. 

Programming will be based at SKCTC’s new campus in Knox County. Over the course of three years, the WRTC expects to serve 1,397 students, with 630 receiving a credential or diploma. SKCTC estimates 50 businesses will demonstrate improvement by the end of the project by having access to the talent pool of 625 workers who are expected to participate in training provided by the WRTC.

  • $1.2 million was awarded to Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc. in Somerset, Kentucky for the Kentucky Wildlands Regional Tourism Initiative.

    The project will expand a regionalized tourism marketing plan, a hospitality workforce training program and an expanded tourism website. Over the two-year project period, with the assistance of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Council and local businesses, PRIDE expects to serve 118 communities, create 100 jobs, and increase local revenues by at least $7.5 million. This project will help coal- impacted communities across Eastern Kentucky capitalize on their natural and cultural assets.

  • $500,000 was awarded to the Leadership Kentucky Foundation, Inc. for BRIGHT Kentucky: Nurturing & Sustaining BRIGHT Entrepreneurs.

    This project will expand the BRIGHT Kentucky program, focusing on the next-generation leaders in Eastern Kentucky by developing their leadership skills and broadening their professional network. Leadership Kentucky is partnering with Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) for program opportunities. Over three years, BRIGHT Kentucky will serve 150 participants and expects to create 24 new jobs, serve 48 communities, and 48 businesses.

ARC is accepting applications in response to its POWER 2022 Request for Proposals.

Letters of Intent (LOI) for implementation grants up to $1.5 million and planning grants up to $50,000 under POWER are due April 4, 2022.

The deadline for final applications is April 29, 2022.

Award announcements are anticipated to be made in the fall of 2022.

Additional information regarding the application process is available at  www.arc.gov/power-how-to-apply.

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