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Investments Supporting Partnerships in Recovery Ecosystems Initiative (INSPIRE)



Letter of Intent (Optional): Feb 21, 2023
Application Deadline: Mar 17, 2023


Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)


Offers funding to address substance use by creating or expanding a recovery ecosystem that can lead to workforce entry or re-entry for individuals in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). Emphasizes stable employment as a key element of successful recovery. Develops recovery ecosystems comprised of recovery communities, peer support, healthcare, human services, law enforcement, and other community stakeholders to help individuals enter or re-enter the workforce during the transition from SUD treatment into sustainable recovery.

Required INSPIRE program priorities include:

  • Training, job placement, and support activities to individuals with SUD
  • Prevention-focused SUD activities that reduce future substance use or misuse and engage individuals in health and economic community-oriented activities
  • Create or expand linkages between workforce development organizations, training providers, post-SUD wraparound service providers, businesses and other partners to assist people in recovery with maintaining their recovery entering or re-entering the workforce
  • Workplace programs and policies that support employees in recovery from SUD
  • Partnerships with industry to develop organizational capacity, leverage resources, and implement community-based approaches for addressing SUD workforce challenges and industry needs as they pertain to workforce entry and re-entry
  • Support services to strengthen the recovery ecosystem and help employers address workforce issues
  • Plans to enhance existing partnerships, coalitions, or consortia through the addition of new partners
  • Community SUD/behavioral health needs assessments providing information on direct recovery services, local service capacity, and input from individuals currently in recovery on service delivery
  • Efforts to identify and reduce barriers to the SUD recovery-to-work ecosystem, such as transportation, transitional or recovery housing, childcare, criminal record expungement, and other support services
  • SUD plans, programmatic activities, and strategies that are aligned and integrated with existing state, regional, or community health and economic development strategies
  • Develop an ecosystem, through capacity building of health and workforce activities, to strengthen community interventions and enhance coordination of the SUD recovery-to-work model

Grants are offered under 2 funding categories:

  • Implementation grants support projects seeking to implement, expand, or replicate successful models for establishing a recovery ecosystem focused on entry and re-entry into the workforce for individuals recovering from SUD. Funds can be requested for minor construction incidental to the project.
  • Planning grants support the development of plans and strategies to build or expand a recovery ecosystem that will be implemented in the near future or after the grant ends. Funds may not be used for the delivery of programs or services.

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling:

  • $500,000 for implementation grants
  • $50,000 planning grants

Project period

  • Up to 3 years for implementation grants
  • Up to 18 months for planning grants

Applicants must provide matching funds from non-federal, other federal, or a combination of sources for the project. ARC maximum contributions are determined by ARC's classification of the county or counties served by the proposed project. Applicants may request up to 80% of the total project costs when the county served is designated as economically distressed based on ARC's fiscal year (FY) 2023 County Economic Status in Appalachia classifications. Additional information on determining the match rate for multi-county projects can be found in the program guidance.

Who Can Apply

Eligible applicants include:

  • Local development districts
  • Indian tribes or a consortium of Indian tribes
  • States, counties, cities, or other political subdivisions of a state, including a special purpose unit of a state of local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
  • Institutions of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education
  • Public or private nonprofit organizations or associations

Applicants with current open Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) grants that address substance use disorder (SUD) are not eligible for this opportunity. Applicants with a current POWER grant that is not focused on SUD may apply for INSPIRE funding.

While applicants may apply concurrently for funds under the INSPIRE, POWER, or Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities (WORC) opportunities, they may only receive grant funding for SUD-related projects under 1 of these initiatives.

Geographic Coverage

Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

What This Program Funds

Capacity Building • New Program • Operating Costs and Staffing

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information about the application process are available in the program guidance.

A letter of intent (LOI) must be emailed to by February 21, 2023. After the LOI submission is confirmed, applicants will receive detailed instructions to formally submit the final application.

Applications must be submitted online through the ARC application portal.

Prior to submitting the final application, every applicant is required to contact the state program managers of the states impacted by the project proposal to ensure the proposal aligns with Appalachian economic development priorities for each state served by the project.

Applicant webinar recording
Application checklist


For questions about the INSPIRE Initiative or use of agency funds to support projects:
Contact the state program manager

Rural Awards

Past awards communities received in FY 2023 can be found on the program website.

Rural communities who have received funding include:

  • Thrive Community Coalition in Inez, Kentucky used funding for an initiative that will provide peer mentoring, assessment, and job training for individuals near the conclusion of a residential treatment program or entering an intensive outpatient program. The project will partner with the county prosecutor's office and local businesses to increase second-chance employment opportunities for 140 workers.
  • Smoky Mountain Harm Reduction in Franklin, North Carolina was awarded funds to develop a strategic plan for a workforce-to-recovery ecosystem in rural Macon County. The plan will identify available recovery supports, assess current and future workforce demands, and expand workforce opportunities for people in recovery.
  • New Vision Renewable Energy in Philippi, West Virginia received a grant to provide vocational training in the construction and woodworking industries as well as employment, transportation, housing, and social and mental health supports for 18 young male workers recovering from SUD and aging out of the foster care system.

Topics This Program Addresses

Community Planning and Coalition Building • Education and Training • Employment • Recovery • Substance Use Disorder