HomeFrom the MayorAppalachian Regional Commission – April 26, 2018

Appalachian Regional Commission – April 26, 2018

In the Region: A weekly snapshot of news, announcements, and other tidbits from the Appalachian Regional Commission
ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  April 26, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 17


Rural Resources Executive Director Sally Causey, Congressman Phil Roe, M.D., Tennessee Director for USDA Jim Tracy, and ARC’s Guy Land cut the ribbon for the new Farm and Food Education Center in Greeneville, Tennessee.

New Farm and Food Center to Train and Develop Food Biz in Tennessee

Rural Resources, a non-profit focused on training, education and preservation of farmland, natural resources, and sustainable agriculture with an emphasis on entrepreneurship and youth engagement, celebrated the official opening of its new Farm and Food Education Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony this week. The Farm and Food Center, located in Greeneville, Tennessee, offers office space, meeting rooms, and training for local growers, beginning farmers, food entrepreneurs, high school and college students in relevant degree programs, community members who are food insecure, as well as other members of the community. The Center is equipped with a commercial kitchen in which small-scale food producers can learn about safe food processing, tools to develop their products, and other business development training opportunities. The new Farm and Food Education Center has the capacity to host 165 people. The expanded space will allow Rural Resources to further develop existing programs, such as the The F.A.R.M. Youth Internship, the Gardening & Canning Club, and Summer Farm Day Camp.

ARC’s Guy Land was on hand for the celebration alongside U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, and representatives from USDA’s Rural Development and Greene County local government. ARC invested in the land acquisition, construction, and equipment of the Farm and Food Education Center since the project got underway in 2014.


Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology and Engineering Management Jeff McFadden and Bluefield State College student debut a new robot, purchased through an ARC POWER grant. 
Photo Source: Bluefield State College Facebook

Advanced Manufacturing Takes Hold in West Virginia

After being awarded a $1.5 million POWER grant last year to develop advanced manufacturing programming, Bluefield State College began planning and equipping its Center of Excellence in Manufacturing Education (CEME) to serve individuals and industries impacted by the changing coal economy. The CEME will provide degree programs in Manufacturing Engineering Technology, as well as certificate programs designed to give non-degree-seeking students mastery over a narrow subject area or topic, such as computer programming or project management. The CEME has a specific focus on transitioning workers displaced from mining-sector jobs into manufacturing that leverage their existing skills. Just as individual workers have been displaced by downturns in coal mining, so have many businesses that provide manufacturing support to the industry. The CEME will offer consulting services to help these companies to transition into new areas of manufacturing, and will also serve as a research and development arm for local industry, with collaborative robotics as a major research focus.

So far, CEME has procured most of the large equipment needed to get its programs up and running, and has developed the curriculum for certificate courses that will begin this summer. The CEME has also established a collaborative robot research program with an international firm in Virginia that will give CEME students opportunities for internships. Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology and Engineering Management Jeff McFadden spoke with ARC about the impact of the POWER grant, one of 31 such awards in West Virginia, and demand for the program in the Bluefield community.

ARC is now accepting applications for 2018 POWER Initiative funding submitted in response to the POWER request for proposals issued in February. Cycle 1 applications are due May 1, 2018 by 11:59 pm ET.


This week, ARC and the Population Reference Bureau released The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from the 2012–2016 American Community Survey, also known as the Chartbook, examining state- and county-level data for the 13 Appalachian states on a range of socioeconomic and demographic topics. ARC developed five “data snapshot” fact sheets summarizing the Chartbook’s findings on population, education, employment, and income & poverty in Appalachia. Visit, or check out ARC’s quarterly In Focus newsletter, to find out more.


Q & A: Newly Appointed ARC Co-Chair Lays Out Vision for the RegionWest Virginia Public Broadcasting

Demographic study to help leaders with development plansRegister-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

ESU joins Bloomberg global network with new finance labPike County Courier, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

SUNY Broome To Use Federal Funding To Launch Aircraft-Maintenance Degree ProgramBusiness Journal News Network, Binghamton, New York

Glendale Road project in Garrett County could begin this summerCumberland Times-News, Cumberland, Maryland


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

Rural RISE Summit
Davis, West Virginia
May 15-16

2018 SWVA Economic Forum
Wise, Virginia
May 17

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

Community Colleges of Appalachia 2018 Annual Conference
Asheville, North Carolina
June 10-12

Appalachian Higher Education Network 2018 Annual Conference
Asheville, North Carolina
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.