10 January 2023- Closing out his term as states’ co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Governor Larry Hogan today announced $230,000 in grant funding for three Western Maryland projects to further support workforce development and critical industries.
“We are excited to further the work of the Appalachian Regional Commission and support these innovative projects that will expand opportunities for students and workers across Western Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “Appalachia plays such a vital role in the social and economic fabric of our country, and the commission’s work has never been more important. I want to congratulate Governor Beshear on taking over as states’ co-chair, and express my profound gratitude to Gayle Manchin, my fellow Appalachian governors, and the entire team at the commission.”
“On behalf of ARC, I offer my sincerest gratitude to Governor Hogan for the progress we accomplished together across the Appalachian region while he served as the 2022 States’ Co-Chair,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “These three projects in Western Maryland exemplify the growth he advocated to attain in the areas of workforce development, downtown revitalization, and education, all key parts of the ARC Strategic Plan. I appreciate the forward momentum and vision he has promoted and established in Maryland’s Appalachian counties.”
As the first Maryland co-chair since the 1980s, Governor Hogan hosted the annual Appalachian Regional Commission Conference at Rocky Gap Resort in Cumberland.
Workforce Development and Makerspace Initiative, $100,000. The Hogan administration and ARC have provided funding for the startup and expansion of the Allegany College Makerspace. The Makerspace has been instrumental in providing training and certifications for many workers throughout the region—including the displaced workers from the Verso mill closure. The college continues to expand its workforce training program offerings at the Makerspace to meet the needs of the local business community as well as entrepreneurs and business start-up opportunities. In order to continue to meet the training and workforce needs including additional items for robotics training, expansion of woodworking, and other industry-driven training opportunities, this grant will be used for infrastructure enhancements and education support at the Makerspace.
Marketing For the Arts, $100,000. Allegany College of Maryland, in partnership with bluegrass legend Del McCoury and Rainmaker Music, will establish a program for students to work with the premiere artists and industry leaders through an internship program in a state of the art facility located in downtown Cumberland. Upon completion of the program, students have the opportunity to obtain full-time employment in promotions in the music industry. As part of their match for this grant, Rainmaker Music has purchased a building in downtown Cumberland which will not only house this innovative program, but support downtown revitalization.
Garrett County’s “STEM Ready Kids” Initiative, $30,000. With funding from former federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas, Garrett County initiated a process of sharing and demonstrating the power of their program with other schools and school systems throughout the ARC service area. Despite the pandemic, the county was able to successfully administer the first round of project funding which enabled their team of students to visit over a dozen schools/school systems across four ARC States (WV, PA, VA, and GA) to demonstrate the power of their robotics program. The county will utilize this funding to continue the “STEM Ready Kids” initiative in rural counties throughout the ARC service area.