JEFFERSON COUNTY, WV (LOOTPRESS) – The Education Alliance has been awarded a $4.7 million grant for their new CAREERS (Career Acceleration Readiness and Employment Experiences for Region Students) project, benefiting the MedEd Program developed by Jefferson County Schools (JCS), WVU Medicine, and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (CTC).
The funding comes from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE). This initiative aims to address workforce needs in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors by providing career education and training opportunities for underserved high school students.
The Education Alliance and 10 local partners in West Virginia and Mississippi will collaborate to implement this project.
Earlier this year, JCS introduced the MedEd Program, a two-year program designed to offer eligible high school students a direct pathway into the healthcare industry. Starting in the fall, juniors and seniors at Jefferson High School (JCS) and Washington High School (WHS) will have the option to pursue either a Laboratory Technician or Patient Care Technician career pathway.
ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin emphasized the importance of collaboration across state lines for the economic development of Appalachia. She expressed her optimism about the impact of the ARISE grantees’ plans on workforce development and business ventures in the region.
The project partners include Jefferson County Schools, Kanawha County Schools, Monongalia County Schools, New Albany School District and Union County in Mississippi, Putnam County Schools, Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Mississippi and West Virginia, and the WVU Health System through its subsidiary hospitals: Jefferson Medical Center, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, and WVU Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Amelia Courts, President/CEO of The Education Alliance, expressed gratitude for the ARC’s investment in the CAREERS workforce development program. She highlighted the program’s potential to provide life-changing opportunities for high school students to learn, earn, and advance along a career path.
Dr. Courts also acknowledged the collaboration of all the project partners and the support of the Claude Worthington Benedum and Steeley Foundations, which provided matching funds to leverage these resources for students.
The ARISE initiative, launched by ARC in August 2022, makes $73.5 million available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. Its goal is to strengthen Appalachian businesses and industries, foster economic opportunities, and support the development of new projects through multi-state collaborations.
For more information about ARC’s ARISE funding opportunity for multi-state collaboration, visit www.arc.gov/ARISE.