BSCTC Receives $1.16 million Grant from Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative
East Kentucky Welding Technology & AWS Training Center is part of a $46.4 million award package, and will Improve the education, knowledge, skills, and health of residents to work and succeed in Appalachia.
Prestonsburg, KY— Today, Big Sandy Community & Technical College was awarded $1.16 million by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to expand BSCTC’s capacity to provide welding instruction and training programs on the Mayo campus in Paintsville, Kentucky in Johnson County. This award is part of a $46.4 million package supporting 57 projects across 184 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative.
POWER targets federal resources to communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal-related supply chain industries. The investment is part of a $1.6 million dollar project. Eleven organizations received the POWER Grant, with BSCTC being the only community college in Kentucky to be awarded.
“The downturn of the coal industry has impacted economies across Appalachia. That’s why ARC’s POWER initiative helps to leverage regional partnerships and collaborations to support efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Many of the projects we announced today will invest in educating and training the Appalachian workforce, nurturing entrepreneurship, and supporting infrastructure—including broadband access. These investments in our Appalachian coal-impacted communities are critical in leveling the economic playing field so our communities can thrive.”
The East Kentucky Welding Technology & AWS Training Center project will enable BSCTC to increase capacity to provide welding/fabrication training that will codify a pipeline of entry-level and highly skilled welders to support welding and related industries within the Big Sandy Area Development District in Kentucky. Specifically, ARC funding will allow BSCTC to renovate an existing welding technology laboratory space on the Mayo Campus in Paintsville.
BSCTC President Sherry Zylka stated, “We are absolutely delighted to provide high quality technical education for the hardworking people of eastern Kentucky. With ARC’s support, we are leveraging our resources to create a competitive workforce in our resilient region.”
The renovation/retrofit activities will enable the site to add 18-22 welding training stations, welding stands, and curtains to support the delivery of welding instruction aligned to the American Welding Society’s curriculum and professional certification (AWS Certified Welder). The project will also enable BSCTC to pursue designation as an AWS Accredited Test Facility (ATF) for welding.
Since POWER launched in 2015, ARC has invested more than $287 million in 362 projects across 353 coal-impacted counties. The $46.4 million awarded today is projected to create/retain over 9,306 jobs, attract nearly $525 million in leveraged private investments, and be matched by $59.2 million in additional public and private funds across the Region.
ARC is working with Chamberlin/Dunn LLC, a third-party research firm, to closely monitor, analyze, and evaluate these investments. A new report, published today in conjunction with the announcement, drew on 72 stories representing 44 unique POWER projects funded between fiscal years 2015-2020 to determine the most significant changes that occurred as a result of POWER.
The evaluation found that projects funded through POWER grants met or exceeded targets for jobs retained and/or created, businesses created, workers trained and revenues increased. Chamberlin/Dunn is continuing to monitor POWER investments and make recommendations to ARC for ongoing programmatic efficiencies.
About the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)
The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov) is an economic development partnership 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.
Big Sandy Community & Technical College (BSCTC) provides accessible quality educational opportunities for student success, promotes economic growth and enhances the quality of life of its constituents. As the region’s premier community and technical college, BSCTC is recognized as the first choice for higher education; academic achievement; cultural enrichment; student success; and community, workforce and economic development. With campuses in Prestonsburg, Paintsville,