A weekly email from the Appalachian Regional Commission
In the Region: A weekly snapshot of news, announcements, and other tidbits from the Appalachian Regional Commission


The Appalachia Service Project and partners celebrated housewarmings for low-income families moving into new homes built with volunteer construction labor to replace prior insufficient, unsafe, and inefficient structures.

Building Housing Stability in Eastern Tennessee

Families in Sevier County, Tennessee had holiday  housewarming parties that will spread cheer far beyond the holiday season, thanks to the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) and its ARC-supported New Build initiative. Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters and ASP President/CEO Dr. Walter Crouch were on hand for the celebrations. These new homes are just a few of over 30 that were constructed by ASP for low-income families. The energy efficient homes are 864 square feet, three bedroom, one bath homes. The project combines ASP's large volunteer labor force with private funding sources and local partners to address insufficient, unsafe, and inefficient housing conditions. Many of the replaced housing units were damaged during fires in the area.
The provision of stable housing can have profound effects on health outcomes for individuals, families, childhood development, and school improvement. Additionally, increased availability of stable housing can contribute to positive economic development and employment opportunities within the region. ASP aims to construct an additional 33 new homes for low-income families in ARC-designated distressed counties or distressed areas in eastern Tennessee with additional ARC funding. ASP and its partners, including Community Federal Credit Union, will also provide counseling to participating households on financial and homeownership topics, and refer families to additional supportive services such as financial counseling, reduced-cost child care, and job training.


Beth Fanning Taylor, a mother and wife living in Raleigh County, is one of seven individuals from throughout southern West Virginia who recently completed the first phase of the CentralApp apprenticeship program, a rigorous eight-month course of study focused on helping residents of coal-mining communities transition to careers in the tech industry.

CentralApp Apprentices Certified in Salesforce

The CentralApp apprenticeship, a rigorous eight month IT certificate training program in West Virginia, hit a milestone earlier this month by awarding their first trainee class with Salesforce Administrator certificates. With support from an ARC POWER grant in partnership with Pennsylvania’s Southwest Corner Workforce Development BoardSeven certificate-earners, many from central Appalachia’s hardest hit coal communities, are now skilled to configure and develop tools for the Salesforce platform — the fourth largest software system in the world. This certificate is the first of three industry certifications available through the apprenticeship program, which progresses into teaching software development and programming skills. Now these trainees will begin on-the-job training allowing them to put their new admin skills to use through real-world projects for other CentralApp clients. Upon completion of the program in May, students who obtain certifications will have access to the CentralApp Talent Exchange and will obtain work from its customer base of thousands of active customers, systems integrators, and consultancies. The complete training cycle will end in May, and CentralApp is now accepting applications to begin training a second cohort of students in fall of 2018 through its partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education’s Career and Technical Centers and the EdVenture Group. Other partners involved in the CentralApp Apprenticeship program include the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP), Workforce West Virginia and the West Virginia Development Office.


ARC Announces Research Series Examining the Impacts of Declining Coal Production on the Region’s Economy

Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) released An Economic Analysis of the Appalachian Coal Industry Ecosystem, a new research series examining how Appalachia’s coal industry ecosystem (CIE) is being impacted due to changes in the coal industry. The research—presented in five reports—is the first comprehensive assessment of current and potential effects the changing coal industry can have on the Appalachian Region. 

The research explores some of the current and future economic effects of declining coal production on various components of Appalachia’s CIE, including supply chain industries, electric power generation, and transportation, as well as funding implications for K–12 education. The findings of the reports suggest that as effects from declining coal production ripple through the components of the CIE, the impacts will extend far beyond the communities where coal is produced—touching communities throughout Appalachia. View the press release or read the reports.


Startups to pitch new business ventures to potential investors during Demo Day, The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, West Virginia
GRMC program receives $100,000 ARC grant, The Garrett County Republican, Garrett County, Maryland
Grant will help transform Konnarock Training School into the Blue Ridge Discovery Center, SWVA Today, Wytheville, Virginia
Manchin, Capito announce ARC grants, The Weirton Daily Times, Weirton, West Virginia
We Urgently Need To Find A Replacement For King Coal’s Disappearing Jobs, Newsweek


Registration Now Open for ARC Workshops on POWER Funding Opportunities for Coal-Impacted Communities
ARC  will hold five free workshops across the Region in February and March to help coal-impacted communities learn about the objectives of the 2018 POWER Initiative, which organizations are eligible for this funding, and how to develop a competitive funding proposal. ARC will be releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for 2018 POWER funding soon.
Register now.


AACC Workforce Development Institute 2018
New Orleans, Louisiana
January 30–February 2
National Endowment for the Arts' Citizens' Institute on Rural Design
Application Deadline is February 16, 2018
ARC 2018 POWER Initiative Regional Workshops
February 14: California, PA
February 20: Greenville, SC
February 28: Daniels, WV
March 8: Hazard, KY
March 14: Tuscaloosa, AL

NACo Webinar: Telling Your Community Story: Strengthening Economies through Place Branding
February 7th
Map of the Appalachian Region

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) 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.
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Appalachian Regional Commission
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Washington, DC 20009-1068