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.
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.