Wicker, Bryant Announce $85,000 in ARC Grants for Mississippi

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant today reported that Pontotoc County and Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC) will receive more than $85,000 in grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

“ARC is an important partner in spurring economic development and making critical infrastructure improvements throughout North Mississippi,” Sen. Wicker said. “This funding will help Pontotoc County complete vital water line repairs, as well as assist NEMCC with the purchase of new welding simulators to enhance workforce training for students.”

“These investments will strengthen Pontotoc and Prentiss counties and provide meaningful benefits for residents in those areas,” Gov. Bryant said. “The positive effects of this infrastructure improvement and these workforce training assets will be felt for years to come.”

Pontotoc County has been granted $38,500 for the repair of a leaking main water line traveling under State Route 6/US 278 near the Kings Highway intersection. This includes $19,250 in ARC funding and $19,250 in local funding. The water line serves the majority of eastern Pontotoc County, including 25 businesses and 275 residential properties, connecting the northern and southern sections of East Pontotoc Water Association’s main lines in the county.

NEMCC in Prentiss County was granted a total of $83,285 for the NEMCC Virtual Reality Welding Simulator, which will aid the college in purchasing four welding simulators for use in the welding training curriculum. This includes $66,628 in ARC distressed county funds and $16,657 provided by local funding. Out of 30 students trained during the first year of implementation, at least 24 are expected to obtain immediate employment.

Wicker is leading efforts to reauthorize ARC, which would allocate $100 million annually over the next five years, including $10 million a year to improve rural broadband services. The measure is contained in a comprehensive highway bill, which is awaiting floor consideration.

The Appalachian Regional Commission awards grants and contracts from funds appropriated to the Commission annually by Congress. Program grants are directed to state and local agencies, local governing boards, and nonprofit organizations. In addition to investments in infrastructure, contracts are awarded for research on topics that directly impact economic development in the Appalachian Region, which includes 24 counties in northeastern Mississippi. Governors of the 13 Appalachian states and one federal co-chair serve on the Commission.

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