$85M in federal funding announced for new Appalachian Community Innovation Centers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 18, 2024

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission this week released official program guidelines for the $85 million Appalachian Community Innovation Centers program.

K-12 school districts, joint vocational school districts, regional councils of government, or other political subdivisions located in the 32 Ohio Appalachian counties may apply for funding.

Eligible projects include new construction, renovation, or expansion of existing facilities that support public education,

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deliver physical or behavioral healthcare services onsite to students and the public, and

provide community access to job-related programming.

To qualify, projects must demonstrate a significant impact in all three areas.

“Schools are already centers of the community in Appalachia. With the support of the General Assembly, we can use federal funds made available from the American Rescue Plan Act Capital Projects Fund to promote student engagement while increasing the availability of resources for adults,” DeWine said.

“Ohio’s Appalachian communities often feel overlooked, and they have a real need for these dollars as they work to provide educational, health care, and job opportunities in centralized locations,” Senate President Matt Huffman R-Lima, said. “These are real improvements that people will see every day and will make a difference for decades to come.”

The program is administered by the OFCC.

“OFCC is already working with local communities on school construction projects,” Ohio Budget and Management Director and OFCC Chair Kimberly Murnieks said. “The partnership between education, healthcare, and jobs will provide ready access to the type of services that strengthen families and communities in the Appalachian region.”

The application period for the Appalachian Community Innovation Centers Program starts today and ends March 21. OFCC staff will host a pre-application webinar on February 12, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. to present the guidelines in detail and allow interested parties to ask questions.

For more information, visit the program website at ofcc.ohio.gov.