Funding expected to leverage
more than $4 million in private investment
LONDON, Ky. —Today, Kentucky Highlands Investment
Corporation was awarded $1.5 million by the Appalachian Regional Commission
(ARC) for a project to increase access to capital and technical assistance for
businesses as well as boost employee skills and training.
This award is part of a $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.
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.”
The Kentucky Highlands Empowerment Zone/Promise
Zone (EZ/PZ) Project will target the Kentucky Promise Zone counties (Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, Clay, Knox and part of Whitley),
the former Empowerment Zone Counties (Jackson, Wayne and Clinton) and McCreary
County. The goal is to create 400 to 425 new jobs as well as increase
education and training for 400 workers.
It will include
- A $650,000 revolving loan fund to offer
stabilization and expansion capital to businesses and organizations that serve
the public good, such as health-care entities;
- Business management and technical assistance
from KHIC staff;
- $150,000 to launch the Career Ladder Incentive Program,
which will enhance employees’ skills by reimbursing organizations 50 percent of
tuition and fees for each employee completing a certificate or training; and
- Work with EKCEP to expand Teleworks USA, a
remote-work training and job placement program, to Clinton, Wayne and Whitley
“The project will meet several crucial needs in
our region,” said Jerry Rickett, president and CEO of Kentucky Highlands. “It
will address a shortage in capital investment available to local businesses,
provide much-needed specialized technical assistance, boost labor participation
rates by expanding remote work opportunities and increase employees’ upward
mobility through career-advancing continuing education. We’ll leverage several
assets — more than 50 years of small business investing and technical
assistance experience, the Empowerment Zone 5-year employee tax credit
extension, and the remaining 33 months of the Promise Zone designation
Project partners include Woodforest Bank; EKCEP;
Bell, Wayne, and Whitley County Fiscal Courts to implement Teleworks USA; and
the elder and primary care organizations American Health Management, Grace
Health, Dayspring Health and Pineville Community Health Center, Inc.
KHIC expects the ARC loan fund also will
attract more than $4 million of other private investment. The three-year
project also will be matched with cash and in-kind services.
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, drew on 72 stories representing 44 unique
POWER projects funded between fiscal years 2015-2020 to determine the most
significant changes that occurred as a result of POWER.
The evaluation 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 programmatic efficiencies.
About Kentucky Highlands
Investment Corporation, founded in 1968 to stimulate economic growth in nine
counties in Southern and Eastern Kentucky, now serves 22 counties in the region
and has created or maintained more than 25,000 jobs. Visit www.khic.org for additional information.
About the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)
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.