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Foothills Regional Commission Newsletter, August 2nd, 2021

Isothermal Community College Awarded $30,000 Grant from Duke Energy Foundation


Congratulations to Isothermal Community College on being awarded a $30,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to support the school’s Protective Relay Technician Program.   
“These funds will bring to the classroom equipment and processes used in the testing and commissioning of substation switchgear and protective devices that improve the reliability of the power grid,” said Dr. Margaret Annunziata, Isothermal’s president.  “The grant will be instrumental in helping Isothermal achieve our goal of providing the electric power industry with highly qualified and competent relay technicians.”
The program started a few years ago with Duke’s support and has resulted in quite a few graduates with rewarding careers.
“ICC and this program have meant a lot to me,” said Tory Wheeler, an Isothermal alum and Duke transmission relay supervisor. “This program helped launch me into a great industry with an outstanding company in Duke Energy.  And I’ve been able to build my leadership skills through the years with Isothermal’s continuing education programs.”
The long partnership with Duke runs deep. 
“Isothermal and Duke have partnered for years to serve our communities and students,” said Dr. Thad Harrill, Isothermal’s vice president of Community and Workforce Development. “This grant is yet another example of Duke’s commitment to support workforce development in our region.  We at Isothermal are honored to link arms with Duke Energy to improve the lives of all we serve.”
The grant is one of 18 across NC to fund innovative workforce education and training initiatives. These grants, totaling $615,000, aim to strengthen programs serving under-represented audiences including women, minorities, and veterans. It’s part of the over $20 million invested annually in North Carolina to support our state’s nonprofit organizations, and $6.3 million in workforce grants in the last five years systemwide.

Foothills Regional Commission to Partner with EDA to Co-host Regional EDA Session on August 9th, 2021

The Foothills Regional Commission, in partnership with the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Centralina Regional Council, and the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, will be co-hosting a meeting on August 9th, 2021, at Noon, to discuss the new EDA ARP funding opportunities and how we can champion local projects. 

To register for the event, please click here.


SBA Launching Streamlined Application Portal for PPP Forgiveness


The SBA is launching a streamlined application portal to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under $150,000 through participating lenders to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA. “With the new simplified application portal, thousands of Southeastern businesses, and even sole proprietorships that borrowed PPP funds will have these funds forgiven said Janita R. Stewart, Acting Regional Administrator for the Southeastern Region. Most entrepreneurs waiting for forgiveness have loans under $150,000. It was time we made the process more efficient so businesses can get back to sustaining our communities."

This new change will help rush relief to the Southeast’s smallest of small businesses, which has been the Administrator’s priority since day one. The new forgiveness platform will begin accepting applications from borrowers on August 4, 2021. Lenders are required to opt-in to this program through In addition to the technology platform, the SBA is standing up a PPP customer service team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their forgiveness applications.  Borrowers that need assistance or have questions should call (877) 552-2692, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. EDT. 

Save the Date: October 6th, 2021, for Release of New ARC Strategic Plan


ARC is excited to co-host our virtual conference, Appalachia Envisioned: A New Era of Opportunity, with the Commonwealth of Virginia on October 6.

This event will unveil ARC's new strategic plan, which will turn feedback from community conversations, focus groups, and a public survey into actionable investment strategies that emphasize Appalachia's strengths and will help communities overcome economic challenges.

The conference will also feature ARC partners who work daily to strengthen Appalachia through sectors like outdoor recreation, entrepreneurship development, and leadership and community capacity. Attendees will hear examples of resilience, success strategies, and other ideas that can help inspire new economic development approaches in communities.

Stay tuned for updates - including complete agenda and registration link - coming soon! 

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