Project Amelioration — Training opportunities for individuals in active recovery and those who have been deeply affected by substance abuse.

Mountain Empire Community College, in partnership with the 30th Judicial Circuit Adult Recovery Court, Southwest Legal Aid Society, and LENOWISCO, announces continued support of Project Amelioration. Funded by the ARC INSPIRE Initiative, offering:

  • Reduced/No Cost TRAINING and NCCER Certification
  • Basic Carpentry (construction)
  • Basic Masonry
  • Basic Welding
  • Basic Electrical
  • Tools/Supplies Provided
  • Job Counseling
  • Hands-on Experience
  • One meal, daily
  • Transportation assistance with fuel cards

Project Amelioration is a community-based partnership bringing together the education, legal, medical, workforce, and recovery communities to develop an alternative “recovery ecosystem” in the heart of the opioid ravaged areas of southwestern Virginia.

Who qualifies for the program?

Serving Dickenson, Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties along with the city of Norton, Virginia, Mountain Empire Community College provides training in the skilled trades to those in active recovery suffering from Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and those who have been deeply affected by SUD. Skilled trades courses (carpentry, masonry, electrical, and welding) in nationally accredited associations are offered along with wrap-around services to help eliminate barriers to training and employment. Students receive hands-on training along with referrals/access to legal aid services, financial education, life skills training, Morale Reconation Treatment (MRT), OSHA Certification, counseling services, social services, and employment assistance.

Program details:

Project A

Project Amelioration courses are housed in our Workforce Department and are offered at our Center for Workforce & Innovation in Appalachia (CWIA), Virginia, as well as limited offerings in Lee and Dickenson Counties. Most courses run for 15 weeks, Monday-Thursday from 5-9pm and are taught by a licensed trades instructor. We provide all supplies and materials for free including books and tools, as well as a meal every evening, and fuel cards to help defray transportation costs. Tuition is little to NO cost to students with help from financial aid. Hands-on work is completed at our class sites or at various locations in Appalachia, Clintwood, and Pennington Gap, Virginia, to help provide construction services to the community for free.




Fall 2023

  • Welding/Fabrication at CWIA, Begins Sept 5, 2023

Spring 2024

  • Carpentry at CWIA, Begins Jan 8, 2024 (13 weeks)
  • ‘Masonry at CWIA, Begins April 8, 2024 (12 weeks)
  • Electrical At Lee County, TBD

Summer 2024

  • Electrical at CWIA, Begins July 8, 2024
  • Carpentry at Lee County, TBD

Fall 2024

  • Carpentry at Dickenson County TBD
  • Welding/Fabrication at Dickenson County TBD
  • Welding/Fabrication at Lee County TBD

Spring 2025

  • Welding/Fabrication at CWIA TBD

Summer 2025

  • Carpentry at Dickenson County TBD
  • Masonry at CWIA TBD


  • Classes are Monday-Thursday, 5-9PM for 15 weeks (unless otherwise noted)
  • Low to NO cost tuition
  • All tools/supplies provided
  • Daily meals, weekly gas cards, referrals, and job assistance
  • Hands-on experience, national certifications


For Program information and to register, please contact: 

Stephanie New (276) 523-9123

*National Center for Construction Education and Research