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Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

Southeast Kentucky CTC Receives Nearly $500,000 from Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College nearly $500,000 in funding for the Essential Skills HUB project, it was announced on Monday during a press conference in Ashland, Ky.

Through the SKCTC Workforce Solutions department, the HUB will expand training and support for individuals ages 15-24 as well as participants in recovery and grandparents who serve as primary caregivers. Participants will have the opportunity to gain digital skills and certifications to help them enter and thrive in the workforce.

President Dr. Vic Adams of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and Sherri Clark, Dean of Southeast Workforce Solutions, display ARC’s INSPIRE award of $499,150. (Photo Submitted)

“We are grateful to ARC for their support because serving our vulnerable populations is an important part of our mission at Southeast,” said Dr. Vic Adams, Southeast President. “I am extremely proud of Sherri Clark, Dean of Workforce Solutions; Sandra Brown, Apprenticeship Coordinator; Deb Young, Whitesburg Campus Director/Workforce Liaison; and Carrie Billett, Chief Advancement Officer, who, with input from the Workforce Solutions team, spent many long hours preparing this funding request.”

ARC has provided nearly $14 million for 43 projects through its Investments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) Initiative, which aims to address Appalachia’s substance use disorder (SUD) crisis with investments in projects that create or expand services to populations in recovery, leading to workforce entry and re-entry.

ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin made the award announcement with ARC 2023 States’ Co-Chair Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky, and grantees during a press conference at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Kentucky, in advance of ARC’s 2023 Annual Conference.

“At ARC, we know that substance use disorder recovery isn’t a singular event, but a continuum. Both workforce training and ending the stigma surrounding substance use disorder are equally important in providing a renewed sense of hope and purpose to Appalachians in recovery,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “These INSPIRE grantees are doing the important work to remove all barriers to entry when it comes to recovery-to-work projects across the region, ensuring that all Appalachians have a chance at a bright future.”

“In Kentucky and across the Appalachian region, we believe all of our people are entitled to healthy and happy lives,” said ARC 2023 States’ Co-Chair, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “We want anyone battling addiction to know they are not alone, and they matter. No matter how long the road to recovery may be, Kentucky and leaders across the ARC region are here to support them.”

INSPIRE was informed by ARC’s Substance Use Disorder Advisory Council, which developed initial recommendations to address the disproportionate impact SUD had on the workforce in Appalachia compared to the rest of the country – a gap that has only widened since the COVID-19 pandemic. According to recently released CDC data featured in ARC’s report, Appalachian Diseases of Despair, overdose-related mortality rates for the region’s 25–54-year-old age group—those in their prime working years—were 72 percent higher in 2021 than for the same age group in the country’s non-Appalachian areas.

To help communities address this outsized impact, the Development District Association of Appalachia produced new INSPIRE-funded resources. The Recovery-to-Work (RTW) Ecosystem Builders Guide is an interactive toolkit for community practitioners interested in coordinating regional stakeholders, engaging employers, and providing support to businesses and workers in SUD recovery. The toolkit provides a step-by-step guide, templates for creating, building, or expanding a SUD ecosystem, and is designed to be a living document that will constantly be added to as new resources and evidence-based practices emerge.

ARC is expecting to issue a Notice of Solicitation for Applications (NOSA) for the next round of INSPIRE grant opportunities in January 2024. Additional information and resources are available at


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