Bevill State Community College is the only entity in the state of Alabama to receive recently awarded funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to foster economic growth in coal-impacted communities.
The college received $1.5 million this month from ARC that will be used to "transform the Hamilton campus of Bevill State Community College into a Workforce Rapid Training Center," according to a press release from Bevill State.
ARC funds are awarded through the ARC's Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative and will allow Bevill State to renovate existing career tech laboratories on the Hamilton campus to accommodate surrounding workforce needs. Currently, the college offers welding, HVAC, advanced engineering design and advanced manufacturing, automotive service, machine tool, and electrical technology programs on the Hamilton campus.
"This grant will also allow for scholarships for individuals who have lost jobs or income related to the coal downturn or who are in recovery from substance abuse programs," the college notes in the press release.
According to a list of project summaries from ARC, Bevill State will use the recently awarded funds to specifically expand welding and HVAC programs.
“We are extremely proud of the longstanding partnership between Bevill State and the Appalachian Regional Commission. With their support, we have been able to expand our programming and more effectively support the workforce training needs in our area," BSCC Dean of Instruction Dr. Leslie Hartley said. "Specifically, this POWER grant will expand welding training on our Hamilton campus and almost double the capacity to train students and existing industries in the Marion County region.
"Bevill State is committed to developing the workforce and responding to the area training needs. The grant award is a result of many community partners collaborating on the needs of the area and supporting the concept of a Rapid Training Center on Bevill State’s Hamilton Campus.”
“Bevill State Community College is appreciative of the Appalachian Regional Commission and all of our project partners for seeing the value in this important project," Bevill State Interim President Dr. Chris Cox said. "This rapid training center expansion will help establish a career pipeline to support local manufacturing industries, will serve to diversify the region’s economy, and will increase post-secondary students’ access to advanced training and completion of industry-recognized certifications."
ARC awarded $43.3 million this month via the POWER Initiative that will help fund 51 projects in the Appalachia, providing 3,300 jobs.
ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas said, “I congratulate Bevill State Community College for their POWER award, and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community. POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches. Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.”
For more on the Appalachian Regional Commission, visit www.arc.gov.
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