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May 14, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Appalachian Regional Commission awards grants that involve UT, Knoxville and Tennessee Tech

The four projects seek to develop workforce plans in key industries in the region: cybersecurity, housing, water infrastructure, and geographical information systems.

Several Tennessee universities are either leading or serving as partners in multi-state projects that received funding from the Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE), an initiative of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). Total funding approached $1.7 million for the four projects.

These projects seek to develop workforce plans in key industries in the region: cybersecurity, housing, water infrastructure, and geographical information systems.

“This round of ARC’s ARISE funding truly represents the forward momentum of Appalachia’s future,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “From growing workforce capacity in cybersecurity, to training workers in state-of-the-art geographical information systems, these projects ensure that Appalachians will be active participants in building a new era of opportunity across our region and the entire country.”

  • The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) is leading a project involving 52 counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia to  develop a plan to help local governments and energy communities use state-of-the-art geospatial technology to strategically pursue economic development opportunities. UTK and its partners were awarded $398,189 and are bringing nearly $100,ooo in matching funds to the initiative. Partners include the East Tennessee Development District, University of Kentucky, Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), University of Virginia at Wise, Appalachian Voices, West Virginia University, West Virginia Geologic and Economic Survey, and West Virginia Association of Geospatial Professionals.
  • Tennessee Technological University is a partner in a Marshall University-led project that will plan for the creation of the first Appalachian Cybersecurity Training, Innovation & Opportunity Network (“Appalachian ACTION”) to train states, municipalities and key industry sectors on protecting their critical infrastructure from cybersecurity threats and attacks. It will impact six counties across West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. The ARC funding was $500,000, and the partners brought another $426,000 in matching funds to the table.

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