Sens. McConnell, Rogers announce $5.5M for Eastern Kentucky

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U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-KY) announced Monday that the Appalachian Regional Commission received more than $5.5 million in grants to help eastern Kentucky with opioid recovery, workforce development, STEM education, and neonatal care.

The grants will come from the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization funds and will be used for six projects across southern and eastern Kentucky.

“The scourge of substance abuse remains one of the biggest challenges facing Kentucky’s Appalachian communities, even in the midst of the pandemic. With my friend Congressman Hal Rogers, I was proud to keep national focus on this crisis and help invest nearly $5.5 million to continue combating addiction in this region,” McConnell said. “The POWER grants focus on two areas of the crisis where I’ve sponsored legislation: protecting babies born into addiction and recognizing the connection among employment, housing, and long-term recovery. As Senate Majority Leader, I’m constantly drawing outsized attention to Kentucky and helping families access the federal resources to succeed.”

The awards included $1.5 million to Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation to rehabilitate the former Whitesburg High School for 22 units of transitional housing for men in substance use disorder recovery. Men in the recovery program will also receive workforce training. The program will create seven jobs and will have the capacity to serve up to 44 residents.

Another $1.5 million grant was awarded to Kentucky Dataseam Initiative, Inc. for apprenticeship programs for high school students interested in information technology. The program will create 60 apprentice positions for students in 20 Eastern Kentucky counties, where students will earn two industry-standard IT certifications.

Foothills Academy also received $1.5 million in grant funding to construct an independent transitional living center for young adults aging out of the child welfare system with limited support networks. Saint Joseph London Foundation will receive $990,510 to create a neonatal intensive care unit at Saint Joseph London Hospital. Gateway Area Development District will receive $50,000 to complete a strategic plan for improving workforce development across six Eastern Kentucky counties. And the EKY Heritage Foundation will receive $6,320 to study whether or not Tiny House manufacturing is feasible for a group in Letcher County looking to create second-chance employment opportunities for individuals in addiction recovery.

“Our best days are ahead of us in southern and eastern Kentucky, thanks to the comprehensive work represented by these grant awards. It is clear that individuals in every corner of Kentucky’s Appalachian region are taking steps to make our communities healthier, our workforce stronger, and our future brighter,” Rogers said. “Senator McConnell and I have rescued the Appalachian Regional Commission year after year to ensure that our communities in Rural America have access to the resources and opportunities that we desperately need. We applaud the ARC’s focus on these important investments in Kentucky’s Appalachian region.”

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