COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – A program to increase access to workforce training in Columbiana and surrounding categories has received funding from the Appalachian Community Grant Program. 

The Utica Shale Academy of Ohio has received over $2.3 million to create the Connecting Communities Through Workforce Training project, which will provide residents with a career pathway for in-demand jobs that allow them to earn a sustainable living wage.

The program is geared toward at-risk, low-income young adults and families affected by substance use disorders.

The project will expand workforce training services at three strategically-placed training centers, focusing on in-demand jobs like heavy equipment operation, welding, industrial maintenance, robotics, 3D printing, broadband infrastructure and diesel mechanics. Participants will also have access to community health workers to assist with resources to improve health.  

In partnership with the Ohio General Assembly, the DeWine-Husted Administration created the Appalachian Community Grant Program last year to support local initiatives to revitalize downtown districts, enhance quality of life and rebuild the economics of Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.

A total of $50 million in development grants will be awarded in the first round of the program to launch four transformational projects impacting communities throughout Ohio, like Columbiana County.

“The projects we’re announcing today are just the beginning of the long-term, impactful change that’s in store for Ohio’s 32-county Appalachian region,” said Governor Mike DeWine.

“These transformational projects will help change the trajectory for families across Appalachia,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development.

The application period for the next round of development funding through the Appalachian Community Grant Program is expected to open in November 2023. 

Guidelines for the grant program were developed in coordination with members of the legislature and numerous stakeholders. Full program guidelines are available at