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ARC CIST Program

In an effort to meet the workforce challenges from the steady decline in Kentucky’s coal industry and the economic impacts of COVID-19, The Center for Rural Development’s Coal Impacted Skills Training (CIST) Program is providing training opportunities for unemployed and underemployed individuals in 35 Southern and Eastern Kentucky counties.

What is the Coal Impacted Skills Training Program?


The program is designed to help individuals who have suffered job loss obtain training in order to better compete in the current job market and to assist businesses with employee training as a way to retain employees and enhance the skill sets of employees.

The Center for Rural Development will focus on providing training opportunities that meet local and regional job shortages in coal-impacted Kentucky counties within its service region.  Areas identified in the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant for funding assistance include:

  • Customer Service (Front Desk/Help Desk)
  • Allied Health
  • Commercial Truck Driving
  • Certified Fiber Optic Technicians and Specialists
  • Lineman
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Equipment Operators

Who is eligible to apply for funding assistance?

The Coal Impacted Skills Training Program is open to unemployed and underemployed individuals in 35 Kentucky counties in The Center’s service region. The goal is to provide an all-inclusive training package that will lead individuals to find gainful employment or upgrade the skill sets of employees in these coal-impacted counties.

Which counties will be served?

The following Kentucky counties within The Center’s service area that have been identified by ARC as distressed counties for fiscal year 2019 will be served through the program:

Adair, Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe

For more information or to apply:

Map of the 35 counties ARCserves