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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
ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  November 1, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 43

ARC SPOTLIGHT

Images of Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas visiting sites in North Carolina
ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas’s visit to North Carolina included announcing $2.4 million ARC investment in local partnerships, visiting a local quartz quarry, and learning more about advanced manufacturing equipment.

Eyeing Economic Potential in North Carolina


Recent ARC research about the Region’s coal industry ecosystem (CIE) shows that several counties in Appalachian North Carolina are considered dependent on, and impacted by, the Region’s changing coal industry economy. As coal-fired plants convert, rail-yards close, and supply chains are disrupted, North Carolina is looking at economic potential in other industries. This week, ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas visited with leaders representing several emerging sectors in Appalachian North Carolina including local agriculture, outdoor recreation, and manufacturing suppliers.
 
Thomas joined David Smith, Chief Deputy Commissioner, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Jim McCleskey, North Carolina’s ARC Alternate representing Governor Roy Cooper; and other state and local officials in Asheville to announce nearly $2.4 million of ARC support made through the POWER Initiative to specifically help the Region’s coal-impacted communities diversify and strengthen their economies. This investment is expected to create or retain over 385 jobs and leverage an additional $4.7 million in private investment by expanding Western North Carolina’s farmers market and boosting the outdoor gear sector.

POWER funds are also being used develop strategic plans to specifically address opioid issues and entrepreneurial development in Appalachia’s community colleges, and develop an industry appropriate workforce plan in Forsyth and Surry counties. While in the area, Thomas also visited Advanced Superabrasives, Inc (ASI) a manufacturer of high performance grinders, wheels, and other equipment critical for the automotive, metal working, industrial ceramics and space exploration industries. ASI’s industrial site is in Madison County, and is now connected to the nearby industrial park via an ARC-funded access road.   
 

INVESTMENTS IN ACTION

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (center) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (3rd from R) joined students from New Albany High School to launch a new career coaching platform.

Virtual Career Counselor Open for Business in Mississippi


For high school students looking for a job or deciding on a future career path, sometimes knowing where to start is the hardest part. This week, the Skills Foundation of Mississippi announced a public-private investment partnership between the Three Rivers Development District, the CREATE Foundation, the Toyota Wellspring Foundation, and ARC to launch www.getonthegridms.com, a virtual “career counselor” specific to northeastern Mississippi. The web-based platform guides users through specific job descriptions, skill requirements, and salary ranges for 40 well-paying and high-demand career options in five major sectors: energy, healthcare, IT, logistics, and advanced manufacturing and provides direct links to nearby certificate programs, community colleges, and other educational institutions offering training to meet the skills for each specific job opportunity. The website has a “virtual classroom experience” created for a classroom setting to more fully expose students in Northeast Mississippi to the most in-demand career paths locally available, and also offers advice on how to build a resume, prepare for an interview, and master other soft skills needed for job success.

“We try to simplify a complex and challenging issue, workforce development, which is today’s most important issue affecting economic growth,” said Amy Tate, Chairperson for The Skills Foundation at the announcement event held at Itawamba County Community College. “We simply need to train more people with the specific skills that are in demand and convince more of our citizens that, today and in the future, these are the best opportunities.” 
 

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

ARC Seeks Proposals to Complete the Development of Web-Based Grant Management System 

ARC is seeking proposals from qualified developers and/or companies to complete the development of its existing custom hybrid grant management system (ARCnet) into a fully web-based grant management system with an end-to-end electronic process. Proposals due November 16, 2018. Read the RFP.
 

APPALACHIA IN THE NEWS

Western North Carolina Farmers Market Awarded $1.25 Million for Expansion, Blue Ridge Public Radio, Asheville, North Carolina
 
New Website Designed to Fill Jobs, Keep Skilled Workers in Mississippi, Daily Journal, Tupelo, Mississippi
 
Grant Will Help Shape Eckley’s Future, The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
 
Officials Say SW Va. Leading the Way in State's Fight Against Opioid Epidemic, Bristol Herald Courier, Abingdon, Virginia

Why This Workforce Program In West Virginia Can Be Critical For The Nation, Forbes

UPCOMING EVENTS

Community Colleges of Appalachia Fall Conference
Monaca, Pennsylvania
November 1–2

Allegany County Tourism Marketing Conference
Frostburg, Maryland
November 7

2018 BAD Buildings Summit
Charleston, West Virginia
November 8

India: Sell to the World's Fastest Growing Market and Middle Class Webinar
11:00 AM EST
November 14

West Virginia Coding & Cyber Summit
Charleston, West Virginia
November 15

Social Enterprise Summit
Beckley, West Virginia
November 16

Southern Tier 8 Industry Summit – Series No. 1
Binghamton, New York
November 28

National Summit for Gateway Communities
Shepherdstown, West Virginia
December 11–13
IN FOCUS October 2018 Issue:
Appalachia's Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Each quarter we spotlight issues and ideas shaping development in Appalachia. This quarter's In Focus explores a new research suite about entrepreneurship, including core themes, resources, and case studies of eight Appalachian communities.
Read more and subscribe >
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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