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The Center for Rural Development receives $300,000 from Appalachian Regional Commission’s INSPIRE initiative

Regional Commission’s INSPIRE initiative
The Center for Rural Development has been awarded $300,000 by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to implement the Succeed, Thrive and Recover (STAR) program to benefit businesses and individuals in recovery in 43 Southern and Eastern Kentucky counties.
The award is part of a recently announced $12 million package through the ARC’s INSPIRE initiative, which addresses the region’s substance use disorder crisis with investments that strengthen services in the recovery ecosystem and help facilitate workforce entry and re-entry.
“I commend The Center for Rural Development for their work supporting the recovery ecosystem in Appalachian Kentucky and are integral to bringing our INSPIRE projects to life,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “The Center is a great asset in our efforts to address the region’s substance use disorder crisis, and I look forward to seeing how they will help build a strong recovery ecosystem and stronger workforce for the opportunities of tomorrow.”
This project will establish a new workforce development program to provide individuals in recovery from substance use disorder with job and vocational skills training and connect them to recovery wraparound support services so they can successfully enter or re-enter the workforce and maintain long-term recovery.
“We are excited to implement the STAR program in 43 Kentucky counties within our service area to assist with the region’s substance abuse crisis,” added Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center. “Our region needs skilled and trained workers to compete with the growing demands in today’s economy. The training is designed to provide job and vocational skills that will help participants to enter or re-enter the workforce.”
In partnership with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and local employers, The Center for Rural Development will offer training in the following subjects to persons in recovery: basic computer skills, essential soft skills, and specialized workforce training and short-term certification programs in targeted high-demand industries with immediate job openings-including electrical, plumbing, carpentry, industrial maintenance, commercial truck driving, hospitality and food service, and medical billing and coding.
The project is expected to serve 494 workers and 40 businesses and improve 400 workers and 40 businesses.
The Kentucky ARC counties in The Center’s primary service area to be served by the STAR program include: Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.
For more information about the STAR program, contact The Center at 606-677-6000 or visit
Since INSPIRE was established in April 2021, ARC has invested $28.1 million in 83 projects across 289 Appalachian counties. The $12 million package for FY2022 is projected to improve nearly 450 businesses and prepare 3,000 students and workers for new opportunities in the workforce.
ARC is expecting to issue a request for proposals for the next round of INSPIRE grant opportunities in early 2023. Additional information and resources are available at

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