HomeFrom the MayorAppalachian Regional Commission – April 12, 2018

Appalachian Regional Commission – April 12, 2018

In the Region: A weekly snapshot of news, announcements, and other tidbits from the Appalachian Regional Commission
ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  April 12, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 15


Tim Thomas prepares to authorize his first investment into the Appalachian Region as ARC’s federal co-chair. Thomas brings more than 20 years of experience working in Kentucky’s public and private sectors on public infrastructure, workforce training, and regulatory issues. 

ARC Welcomes New Federal Co-Chair, Tim Thomas

“There is no reason to think that the next great entrepreneur couldn’t come from Appalachia,” said Tim Thomas upon taking up his new position as ARC’s twelfth Federal Co-Chair. “Most jobs in the US come from small businesses. With additional assistance, like training and access to capital, these businesses can thrive in Appalachia.”

Nominated by President Donald Trump to represent the administration in ARC’s federal-state partnership model, Thomas brings more than 20 years’ experience working in Kentucky’s public and private sectors on public infrastructure, workforce training, and regulatory issues. He most recently served on U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s state staff from 2015 to 2018.  In that role, Thomas fostered deep partnerships with state and local officials, community leaders, and constituent groups to support economic and community development initiatives. Immediately preceding that post, Thomas was the director of external and regulatory affairs for Swift & Staley, a Kentucky-based maintenance, operations, and environmental services company that included federal and state agencies among its clients, such as the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture.

Small business and entrepreneurship development is one of the major themes Thomas has identified as key to ARC’s mission to innovate, partner and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia. Other focus areas include helping the region economically adapt as the nation decreases its reliance on coal and addressing the region’s opioid and drug crisis. “Appalachia’s challenges are constantly changing and evolving,” said Thomas. “ARC’s flexible and nimble structure helps communities across the Region meet these challenges as they come.”


Representatives from the I3 initiative gathered in ARC’s office in Washington DC for a capstone meeting on growing industry relationships to build effective workforce training programs. 

Appalachian Community Colleges Building Career Pipelines for Students and Workers

The Industry-Informed Infrastructure in Appalachian Colleges, or “I3” initiative, an ARC POWER project, is making industry connections with community colleges to increase their technical training capacities. This multi-state workforce and economic development effort, led by The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) with The Community Colleges of Appalachia (CCA), is improving the processes for education and training and enhancing employment pipelines for coal-impacted communities in Appalachia. During a recent capstone meeting in Washington DC, community colleges briefed partners and ARC on the progress of the I3 initiative to build the capacity of the colleges, communities, and students involved. To date, thirteen community colleges focused the hospitality & tourism and oil & gas sectors have begun to build relationships within the respective industries to develop training, apprenticeships, or other education programs linked to these high demand workforce areas. Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College, as one example, has established a dialogue with Hatfield and McCoy Trails that is informing Eastern’s regional tourism initiatives. The college is also establishing connections to create apprenticeship opportunities for students seeking careers in lodging and restaurant services, as requested by hospitality employers in the area. Before the capstone event in DC, the participating community colleges convened at events in Appalachia to network and build industry relationships and visited national sites to see established models and learn how to apply similar programs in their own communities.


HADCO offers free business assistanceThe Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, West Virginia

HCC gets $50,000 grant for two programsHerald Mail Media, Hagerstown, Maryland

Wilkesboro Promotes Music Heritage As Community BuilderBusiness North Carolina

WEDCO planning for Wayne’s ‘Agriculture Tomorrow’The River Reporter, Honesdale, Pennsylvania

Virginia Governor Announces Funding for UAS Training ProgramUnmanned Aerial Online


Appalachia Funders Network 2018 Annual Meeting
Pikeville, Kentucky
April 24-26

East Kentucky Leadership Conference
Hindman, Kentucky
April 26-27

2018 Rural College Access and Success Summit
Lexington, Kentucky
May 13-15

Rural RISE Summit
Davis, West Virginia
May 15-16

Network Appalachia Spring 2018 Meeting
Washington, D.C.
June 5

Appalachian Higher Education Network 2018 Annual Conference
June 19-21


ARC is currently recruiting candidates for two positions: a financial manager who will oversee the development, maintenance, and integrity of the agency’s accounting systems, and an intermodal transportation program analyst who will manage projects and initiatives that complement the success of the Appalachian Development Highway System and local access road program.

Complete position and application information is available on the ARC Job Opportunities page.

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.