The High Rocks Educational Corporation was awarded $1,499,924 by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to create the West Virginia Jobs Network to create pathways for employers and job seekers to fill existing jobs with support to align the right candidates to the right opportunities in 54 West Virginia counties.
This award is part of a nearly $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. Additional support for the West Virginia Jobs Network is provided by AmeriCorps, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, and many other funders across West Virginia.
“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.”
“We are so thrilled to bring investment to five anchor partners across WV to bring the WV Job Network to life. Our four partners, Generation West Virginia, Coalfield Development, the First2 Network, and Bristol Connect, join our AmeriCorps partners across the state to bring the West Virginia Jobs Network to life,” said High Rocks Educational Corporation Executive Director Sarah Riley. “We are excited to connect young people in search of opportunity in the Mountain State with employers who are struggling to fill their employment needs with quality hires.”
Since POWER launched in 2015, ARC has invested more than $287.8 million in 362 projects across 353 coal-impacted counties. The nearly $46.4 million awarded today is projected to create/retain over 9,187 jobs, attract nearly $519.5 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, 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 pro grammatic efficiencies.
For 25 years, High Rocks has been educating, empowering, and inspiring young people in West Virginia. From their transformational summer camps to their youth entrepreneur programs, High Rocks is dedicated to supporting West Virginia’s future leaders today. For more information about High Rocks visit www.highrocks.org.
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.