College awarded $1.92M grant for training center

Bevill State Community College has received a nearly $2 million grant to fund a new training center. The Appalachian Regional Commission announced BSCC will receive an Economic Diversification Award in the amount of $1,920,000. The grant will allow the Jasper campus to create a Rapid Training Center as part of BSCC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) 2016 initiative, “that will serve as a regional workforce training and job placement hub in northwest Alabama,” as stated in a recent press release. ARC says Jasper and surrounding areas were deeply affected by the closure of coal mines and coal-fired power generation facilities, and the Rapid Training Center will allow for further workforce training programs. Training program participants will have an opportunity to receive credentials or retraining in welding, commercial trucking, health care, print reading, rigging and hydraulics/pneumatics. Through a partnership with AARP, a segment of the program will be tailored for people over 50 years old, and the Alabama Department of Labor will offer $1,000 in scholarships for those affected by the loss of coal industry jobs. The center is said to train 4,000 individuals and provide a benefit for 40 regional businesses. Bevill State’s grant is one of 28 distributed in five Appalachian states, totaling $26 million in funding for areas strained from coal industry decline. The grants will help create or conserve 2,500 jobs. “These investments capitalize on the growing momentum for a diverse economy in Appalachia,” ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl said in a press release. “They are strategic, collaborative and impactful projects making the region more competitive in technology, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, broadband, health and a variety of other sectors.” ARC has invested $47 million in communities impacted by the coal industry since 2015.