The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded $1.5 million in grant funding to the West Alabama Works (WAW) – Region 3 Workforce Development Council.

“Today’s announcement continues an ongoing commitment for innovative economic development in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas. “Investing in key regional needs now will benefit the region and the rest of the country well into the future.”

The funding will be used to promote career pathways through the Bridge Program, preparing high school graduates who do not pursue post-secondary education a clear path to either full time employment in a livable wage job or access to short term credentials or certificates that will lead to full time employment within the region.

“Giving our region’s youth a path to success is the core of West Alabama Works’ mission. By preparing our students with career pathways, they can be successful, whether they choose a four-year degree, two-year degree, short-term certificate or entering the workforce. Career pathways will lead to a stronger future for Alabama,” said West Alabama Works Executive Director and Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama Chief Operating Officer Donny Jones.

This funding marks the second grant ARC has awarded West Alabama Works, making the organization among a select few who has received funding more than once from the organization. The grant, known as Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER), is designed to help communities affected by the coal industry.

Learn more about the POWER grant here.