Western N.C. Communities Receive $1.6M to Enhance Workers’ Health Care Grant will Help Workers in Automotive, Aviation and Manufacturing Sectors


A new program aimed at improving worker health in the automotive, aviation and manufacturing sectors in Western North Carolina launched today, Governor Roy Cooper announced. Communities can apply for more than $1.6 million to support local efforts to enhance health care for these critical employees. 

Through the Southern Appalachian Automotive Worker Wellness Grant Program, applicants located in one of the 29 counties designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), can apply for funding for projects that use evidence-based practices that improve worker health outcomes. 

“Our workforce is our greatest asset,” said N.C. Governor Roy Cooper, “Without healthy workers, our companies can’t be successful. A healthy, trained workforce is critical for North Carolina, and this new program will help us achieve that.” 

Gov. Cooper recently announced NC Job Ready, his principles for making sure North Carolina’s workforce is ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The Southern Appalachian Automotive Worker Wellness Grant Program is a collaboration between the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s ARC Program and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Office of Rural Health.

“This investment opportunity will allow communities across western North Carolina to support the development of a quality workforce, while simultaneously improving the overall health care services in these communities. This is a wonderful opportunity for North Carolina,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. 

“These grants invest in health and wellness which is important for workers, their families and communities,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of DHHS. “Increasing access to affordable care in Western North Carolina is critical to turning the tide of the opioid crisis, allowing workers to get and keep jobs, and for kids to be successful in school.”

Applicants must demonstrate how they will improve access to affordable, high-quality health care for workers and their families. Eligible applicants are local development districts, Indian tribes, counties, cities, institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations. 

Other funding qualifications include:

  • The project must be located within an ARC distressed county, at-risk county or transitional county with a distressed census tract. 
  • The project must provide enhanced wellness services to workers in the automotive and/or aviation sectors.
  • The project must address these health and workforce outcomes:
    • Improved diabetes and hypertension outcomes 
    • Tobacco cessation and Body Mass Index screenings 
    • Opioid and drug harm reduction 
    • Reduction in the number of days employees miss work due to feeling physically and/or mentally unhealthy 

The Southern Appalachian Automotive Worker Wellness Grant program will be administered by N.C. Commerce. The application and guidelines are posted at nccommerce.com/rd/arc/about-arc/documents. Completed applications must be postmarked by 5 p.m. on March 31, 2018. Project recommendations will be announced by May 1, 2018.



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