Alexander: $2.2 Million in Grant Funding is “Good News for Economic Growth in East Tennessee”

Says three grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission will help improve education, strengthen the economy in Marion and Unicoi counties

Posted on October 26, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 26, 2016 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released the following statement today after the Appalachian Regional Commission announced three grants totaling $2.2 million in funding for projects in two East Tennessee counties.

“This $2.2 million in grant funding is good news for economic growth in East Tennessee. The Marion County Regional Institute of Higher Education will be able to help even more people in the region earn technical certificates and associates degrees so they can find good-paying jobs and provide for their families. Students and businesses in Temple Hill and Bumpus Cove will soon have access to the same high-speed internet as those in Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga. And the Mountain Harvest Kitchen for the Community in Unicoi will have more resources to help grow the local and regional food industry.”

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced the following grants for Tennessee projects as part of its Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative:

  • $1.5 million for the Marion County Regional Institute of Higher Education to build a 30,000-square-foot educational facility. The project aims to train 109 people for advanced manufacturing and information technology careers.
  • $400,000 for Erwin Utilities to install 35 miles of fiber-optic cable that will offer 680 homes and 30 businesses in Temple Hill and Bumpus Cove access to high-speed internet.
  • $353,086 for the Town of Unicoi to buy equipment for the Mountain Harvest Kitchen for the Community, a food business incubator and entrepreneurial training center that aims to serve entrepreneurs in a nine-county region in Northeast Tennessee and Northwest North Carolina.

The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency that creates a partnership between federal, state and local governments to spur economic development in the 13-state Appalachian Region, which includes 52 counties in Tennessee.

The POWER Initiative is a multi-agency effort to support areas that have lost jobs due to a decline in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. The POWER Initiative supports efforts to strengthen the economy of coal-impacted communities by enhancing job training, creating jobs in existing or new industries and attracting new investment in the region. 

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