HomeFrom the MayorAppalachian Regional Commission – May 24, 2018

Appalachian Regional Commission – May 24, 2018


Participants at the 2018 SWVA Economic Forum visit booths at the event. ARC POWER grantee Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing displayed their work to boost manufacturing in the region. Photo Source: SWVA Economic Forum Facebook page

Economic Forum in Southwest Virginia Focuses on Talent in the Region

Existing and emerging leaders in business, federal and state government officials, and representatives from community and economic development organizations convened on May 17 for the SWVA Economic Forum at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. The aim of the conference was to engage participants with the common goal of improving the economic growth and diversification for all of Southwest Virginia and the region through collaboration and innovation. The theme of this year’s event was “Talent.” Keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and a creative exchange of solutions with neighboring states addressed the hidden talent potential in the region and identify the roadmap for future needs. In welcoming participants to the Forum, UVA Wise Chancellor Donna Price Henry said, “I am excited that Southwest Virginia is coming together to discuss ways to engage the bright minds as well as the wonderful aptitudes and talent of the region’s people.”

Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing, Inc. (SVAM) was on hand to at the SWVA Economic Forum to share details of its Heart of Appalachia Economic Transition project, funded through the ARC POWER Initiative. A non-profit industry association of manufacturers, SVAM is assisting coal supply chain manufacturing companies to become more efficient, find new markets for existing products, and develop new lines of business. The project also aims to redefine the image of the industry in a way that increases the number of young adults pursuing careers in manufacturing. The Heart of Appalachia Economic Transition project aims to better align educational and workforce training resources with the most current and pressing demands of the region’s industry through business outreach, targeted business technical assistance, and more.


A recent Pipeline Field Skills class prepared former coal miners and other job seekers for careers in the in-demand natural gas industry.

Displaced Coal Miners Trained for In-Demand Jobs in Gas Industry

The natural gas gathering, transmission, midstream, and distribution pipeline industry will be active and hiring for the next decade or more because of old infrastructure repair and new build-out. The ARC POWER project, Transitioning from Black to Blue, capitalizes on that strong job market by training displaced coal workers in natural gas utility and pipeline field skills through a four-week pre-employment blend of classroom and hands-on training. The work-ready training has been designed to improve the skills of the participants to enable them to secure employment in high-quality, in-demand, and sustainable jobs in the gas utility and pipeline industry.

Delivered in southwestern Pennsylvania and southeastern Ohio, this program, organized by Washington Greene County Job Training Agency, Inc., was designed by Gas Technology Institute(GTI) in collaboration with industry, Workforce Investment Boards, workforce and economic development offices, United Mine Workers of America Career Centers, community colleges, and other partners. As one example, Belmont College, in partnership with GTI, recently held a Pipeline Field Skills training class where students learn basic pipeline skills, as well as safety and employment competencies. Another Pipeline Field Skills class will be held in June. To date, From Black to Blue has trained approximately half of its 100 student target.


Annual Appalachian Ohio confab to focus on rural wealth creationAthens News, Athens, Ohio

Winston County Works program celebrates successWallace State News, Double Springs, Alabama

King sidewalk project underwayThe Stokes News, King, North Carolina

Perry based initiatives and projects awarded federal grantsPerry County Tribune, New Lexington, Ohio

Recreation Is Bigger Share Of U.S. Economy Than Ag Or Mining, Report SaysDaily Yonder



ARC is now accepting applications for 2018 POWER Initiative funding submitted in response to the POWER request for proposals issued on February 1. ARC will review applications on a competitive basis. Cycle 1 of the application process is now closed. The Cycle 2 application deadline has been extended to August 29, 2018 11:59 pm ET.


ARC is currently recruiting candidates for four positions: a program coordinator who will facilitate and organize a broad range of tasks in support of the POWER Initiative; a business program analyst who will support entrepreneurial and business development strategies; 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.