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About the AEW Network

The Appalachian Regional Commission's (ARC) higher education initiative–the Appalachian Education and Workforce Network (AEW Network)–has been in operation since 1998. Its mission: to increase post-high school education and training attainment rates in the region.

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About the AEW Network

About the AEW Network

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The Appalachian Education and Workforce Network (AEW Network) is a collection of Centers in 10 states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. These Centers work with high schools, colleges, and career access and success programs that serve high school students and non-traditional adult learners and workers. The Centers also partner with workforce development agencies to achieve two important goals: 1) to increase the Appalachian region’s post-high school education and training attainment rate and 2) to help develop a stronger workforce.

Research confirms that intentionally designed activities, practices, and policies can influence the development of postsecondary education-going cultures in predominantly rural schools and can promote success. The Centers’ services help students and workers overcome social, cultural, emotional, and informational barriers to continuing and being successful in their educational endeavors beyond high school. Partnerships with workforce development organizations and agencies help ensure post-high school education and training entities provide a range of credentialing opportunities in line with the local labor market and provide support to ensure student success.

The AEW Network defines postsecondary or post-high school education and training broadly. Its efforts help prepare students for participation in two- or four-year postsecondary education programs, training programs leading to an industry-recognized certificate or credential, or enlisting in the military by the fall following graduation from high school. Some Centers also work with non-traditional adults and workers participating in varied retraining programs and initiatives.

Services Provided by the AEW Network and Resource Centers

Increasing Postsecondary Awareness, Access, and Success

  • Visit two- and four-year colleges and universities and industry training programs
  • Conduct post-high school education and training summits; meet and talk with participants from rural areas
  • Hold college fairs
  • Provide leadership training and résumé development
  • Offer ACT preparation

Informing Career Decision Information

  • Visit industry and business; meet with staff and leaders
  • Arrange for business/industry leaders to visit high schools
  • Explore area job market, career paths, and academic requirements
  • Provide career coaching for high school students as well as returning and non-traditional adults; sponsor career fairs
  • Conduct interview training
  • Introduce business etiquette

Providing Professional Development

  • Mathematics preparedness; ACT and content-specific
  • Training on non-cognitive factors that have an impact on achievement
  • Data usage training
  • Provide information on area labor markets
  • Formative assessment training
  • Connect postsecondary education and training staff to high school staff to confirm expectations and align high school course material
  • Understanding value of partnerships between the education and workforce systems

Helping Families Navigate Post-High School Opportunities 

  • FAFSA training and assistance
  • Scholarship searches and identification of workforce support such as apprenticeships, internships, etc.
  • Create awareness of available education and training programs and help with applications to education and training programs
  • Match students with most appropriate post-high school education and training opportunities

Appalachian Regional (ARC) Commission Education and Training Resources

Education and training are driving forces behind Appalachia's economic growth, preparing students and workers to compete successfully in the world economy. ARC education and training activities focus on a range of issues including workforce skills, early childhood education, dropout prevention, and improved college attendance.

Find the Centers' Contact Information.

Learn More About Each Center's Work

Email Us: aewnetwork@iel.org | Follow us on Twitter: @AppalachianNetw