ARC Awards Nearly $1.7 Million to Grow Workforces in Cybersecurity, Infrastructure and Housing Capacity Across Six Appalachian States

Four new multi-state ARISE grants spur economic development in key industries in Appalachia.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 9, 2024—Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded four new grants totaling nearly $1.7 million to develop workforce capacity plans in key industries— cybersecurity, infrastructure, geographical information systems (GIS) development and housing. The grants, awarded through ARC’s Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) funding opportunity, are:

  • $500,000 to Marshall University Research Corporation to form a strategic plan for seven prototype cybersecurity education centers at Marshall, West Virginia State University, University of Alabama at Huntsville, Mountwest and Ashland Community & Technical Colleges, Mississippi State University, and Tennessee Technological University. These centers would address a demand for cybersecurity workers by government and other employers in Appalachian Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia.
  • $429,761 to University of Kentucky Research Foundation to examine strategies to train and employ water supply operators in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. The university and partners will research current barriers in water supply operation workforce development in the area and develop tailored solutions.
  • $398,189 to University of Tennessee to bolster workforce training in state-of-the-art geographical information systems (GIS). This will improve land records and enable communities throughout Appalachian Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia to more strategically pursue economic development opportunities.

“This round of ARC’s ARISE funding truly represents the forward momentum of Appalachia’s future,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “From growing workforce capacity in cybersecurity, to training workers in state-of-the-art geographical information systems, these projects ensure that Appalachians will be active participants in building a new era of opportunity across our region and the entire country.”

The ARISE funding opportunity drives large-scale economic transformation through collaborative multi-state projects. Since January 2023, ARC has used funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to invest $69 million in ARISE projects that will strengthen Appalachian business and industry, as well as support the development of new economic opportunities across the region.

ARC is accepting ARISE concept papers on an ongoing basis. The next deadline for concept paper submissions is June 30, 2024.

Learn more about ARISE:

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development entity of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 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.