CHARLESTON, W.Va. -Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced middle school students in McDowell County will receive laptop computers funded, in part, through West Virginia's Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant funds. Governor Tomblin, who serves as the 2013 States Co-Chair for ARC, has recommended this and nine other projects, totaling more than $4.3 million, to receive West Virginia's ARC Investment Program grants.
"Nearly 800 middle school students will soon have access to everyday technology which will open the door to new learning methods and make the pursuit of a quality education easier," Gov. Tomblin said. "Whether used to purchase computers, establish community-based health education for those living with diabetes, or constructing the building blocks of economic development, we're putting these valuable ARC grants to use for their intended purpose - improve life in Appalachia."
The purchase of the laptop computers are also funded through a matching grant from the federal initiative, Connect2Compete, and the private-public partnership, Reconnecting McDowell.
The West Virginia Development Office administers the state's ARC program, which is a partnership of federal, state and local participants providing financial and technical assistance for economic development and infrastructure projects. The mission of ARC is to assist the Appalachian region, comprised of 13 states including West Virginia, to become more competitive with the rest of the nation in terms of job opportunities, education, health and other socio-economic factors. ARC designates each county in each state with a county economic level: distressed, at-risk, transitional, competitive, or attainment.
Projects recommended for ARC funding include:
Marshall County Sewerage District
Mozart (Fraziers Run) Sewer Project
The project will provide public wastewater service to 226 new residential and commercial customers in the Mozart (Fraziers Run) area of Marshall County. Currently, customers in the project area rely upon septic systems that are failing, resulting in sewage pooling on the ground that constitutes a critical public health hazard.
MCDOWELL COUNTY (Distressed county)
McDowell County School Board
McDowell County Connect to Compete
The project will provide refurbished laptop computers to students in grades 6-8 in McDowell County and provide them and their parents or family members with training on the computers. This project will benefit 785 students in a distressed county.
SUMMERS COUNTY (Distressed county)
Summers County Commission
Meadow Creek PSD Wastewater Treatment
Plant and Collection System Upgrade
The project will upgrade the existing wastewater treatment plant and allow for sewer line extensions to serve 84 new and existing residential and commercial customers in the Meadow Creek area of Summers County. Currently, the treatment plant is in a deteriorated condition, and new customers served by the project rely upon failing septic tanks. The project will provide new service and upgrades as well as increase the ability of businesses to locate and operate in the area.
Jobs for West Virginia Graduates, Inc.
Jobs for West Virginia Graduates
The project will provide at-risk high-school students with specialized instruction and guidance, including tutoring and mentoring services, career development training, and leadership development. The result will strengthen graduation rates and employability for at-risk students. The project will serve an estimated 120 students.
Central Appalachia Development Organization
CADO FY13 Revolving Loan Fund
The project will provide start-up funding for a revolving loan fund that will serve the counties of Barbour, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Randolph, Tucker, and Upshur. The revolving loan fund will increase business retention, creation, and expansion, providing timely and critical funding for start-up and existing businesses in the region. CADO will operate under the auspices of the Region 7 Planning and Development Council.
Marshall University Research Corporation
West Virginia Diabetes Coalitions Support Project
The project will assist in the creation of new community-based diabetes coalitions and strengthen existing coalitions already operating. Funds will be used to provide mini-grants and technical assistance to county-wide coalitions working on the prevention and control of diabetes in local communities. The project has a focus on ARC-designated distressed and at-risk counties in the state.
West Virginia Division of Energy
Identifying Redevelopment Opportunities
On Surface-Mined Lands
The project will encourage the value-added reuse of land modified by surface mining through the direct application of renewable energy such as solar and wind, growing crops useable by the energy industry, and assessing re-use options on former and existing surface-mined lands. The project will increase the amount of renewable energy available in West Virginia, expand the use of our state's environmental assets, and identify economic development opportunities for surface-mined properties.
West Virginia Development Office
West Virginia Flex-E-Grant Program
The West Virginia Development Office and the Appalachian Regional Commission, in partnership with the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, have operated a mini-grant program that focuses on capacity-building projects in ARC-designated distressed counties, as well as serving non-distressed counties. These projects focus on developing local community leaders, engaging citizens in local initiatives, and strategically planning for the future. Through this funding, an estimated 250 local citizens, public officials, and non-profit staff and volunteers will receive training in leadership or become involved in a local community project.
West Virginia Development Office
Consolidated Technical Assistance
The West Virginia Development Office, with ARC funding assistance, will continue the Consolidated Technical Assistance program. The grant allows the West Virginia Development Office to employ staff for the purpose of providing technical assistance to ARC applicants and grantees, monitoring and administering ongoing projects, updating the West Virginia Development Plan and maintaining a project information system.
West Virginia Development Office
Competitive Improvement Program
The project will provide training and consultation services to small and medium-sized firms in West Virginia to increase their competitiveness. The project will address a unique need for which no other funding sources are available. The results of these services will be a greater number of companies that are increasing the range of their market and market share and a commensurate increase in the number of jobs retained or created.
Amy Shuler Goodwin