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Morehead State receives research grants from Appalachian Regional Commission

A $50,000 grant was awarded to MSU to support the Investment Supporting Partnerships in Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) initiative. The project aims to help create employment opportunities for people in post-treatment addiction recovery through job training programs and initiatives to link recovery services and training that support the recovery ecosystem.

“Appalachia is a special place with unique issues. Funding received from ARC helps us to address those issues to improve the quality of life for our students and constituents across the region,” said Dr. Shannon Harr, director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. “ARC funding is important to MSU. Most generally, ARC funding provides MSU with funding to enhance student services, but it also allows us to use those funds for research. This funding, like other funding received from ARC, is significant because it indicates that what we are doing and are planning to do matters.”

The project is a collaboration between MSU, the Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center, and the Gateway Area Development District. The research involves recovery-to-work issues in a five-county area, including Rowan County, to remove barriers to employment for individuals in recovery. The project also will assist employers with additional training to support recovery-to-work efforts in the area.

Dr. Kim Fatten, assistant professor of accounting, is the lead researcher.

“The INSPIRE planning grant is all about mapping out our existing resources and identifying our community needs,” she said. “We recognize the capacity of business to do good in our world. This effort is an example of exactly what business for good means.”

In addition, MSU received an $8,000 ARC grant for the Appalachian Collegiate Research Initiative (ACRI), formerly the Appalachian Teaching Project. Dr. Janet Ratliff, associate professor of management/ entrepreneurship, is the project lead. The program aims to provide applied research training to students to support economic development.

Students in Ratliff’s Business Plan Development class are currently working on a project called “Seeking the Right Retail Mix” in collaboration with Downtown Morehead, Inc. Working in teams, students conduct research and develop potential business plans for ns for retail space that will be part of a project to bring a hotel to downtown. Students will also engage in a public relations campaign on campus to raise awareness about the economic impact shopping locally has on small businesses and communities. Several students will travel with Ratliff to Washington, D.C., to present at the ACRI Capstone Symposium.

ARC is an economic development partnership entity of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia. To learn more, visit

For more information about programs in MSU’s Elmer R. Smith College of Business and Technology, email or call 606-783-5158.

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