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TARCOG News & Headlines

Read on for recent happenings, announcements, and notable headlines from TARCOG and its communities throughout the region.

How to win grants, fund projects

The Building, Electric, and Aviation Technology (BEAT) Center at Fort Payne City Schools is an example of how ARC funds can be utilized. The building was completed in January 2024 thanks to ARC funding totaling $1 million. The BEAT Center is a STEM-focused vocational building to provide students with career specific training in three pathways: construction, electric vehicles, and aviation/drone technology.


TARCOG’s Economic Development and Planning staff is staying on top of new grant requirements to guide its member governments more effectively through the application process, project implementation and administration.

Michelle Jordan, executive director, Lee Terry, ED&P director, Phoenix Robinson, principal planner, and Leslie Wright, economic development specialist, recently attended a one-day Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Getting the Grant Workshop held in Birmingham.

The workshop was designed to assist prospective applicants identify and learn the best strategies to win grants from the ARC and other federal agencies. Participants also had the opportunity to meet potential partners and funders.

“We like to win funding that improves our member communities and attending this workshop helps us identify and learn the best strategies to win grants from the ARC,” Lee said. “Making sure our staff has enough time to devote to an application is critical.”

The training focused on three grant types.

  • Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies – ARISE. Funded by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 that invests $1 trillion to fix our nation’s infrastructure while creating over two million jobs through 2031. Qualifying projects: large scale regional economic transformation, multi state collaboration, for business and industry. Up to $500,000 for planning and up to $10 million for implementation.
  • Investments Supporting Partnerships in Recovery Ecosystems Initiative — INSPIRE.

Substance use disorder crisis in Appalachia by creating or expanding recovery ecosystems that will to workforce entry or re-entry.

  • Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Initiative — POWER. Targets federal resources to communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal related supply chain issues.

Lee said the training was beneficial because staff got to:

  • Hear from initiative leads on program specifics, new and upcoming changes to 2024 Notice of Solicitation of Applications, application review and scoring criteria.
  • Meet ARC staff and discuss best practices in project development and implementation.
  • Learn from successful grantees on how they translated their project ideas into award-winning proposals.
  • Receive training guidance on complex application components and associated requirements.

Eligible funding activities with the ARISE, INSPIRE and POWER funding pots include:

  • Water/Sewer improvements and/or expansions ($500,000 cap must be tied to business/economic development)
  • Planning/training funding to develop comprehensive plans.
  • Funding for workforce training opportunities/resources.
  • Capacity building
  • New construction/building rehab leading to economic development/increased resiliency.
  • Coalition grants: Longer term applications.

Lee said anyone interested in pursuing ARC grants this year should contact staff early in the process. Grant deadlines may not be until June or later, but staff needs a minimum of three months to prepare a competitive application. For more information contact Lee at or 256-830-0818.