The Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (Isothermal Regional Commission/The Commission) is the council of governments for the Isothermal Region which includes Cleveland, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties in Western North Carolina. The membership of the Commission consists of the local governments within the Isothermal Region.

The Commission serves its members and their citizens by fostering regional collaboration and providing professional and technical expertise. The Commission houses the region’s Area Agency on AgingHousing Programs, Rural Planning Organization, Workforce Development Board and provides services through its Economic, Community and Workforce Development programs and Technical Assistance programs.  For more information, check out our About page!

New April 8, 2020….

Statewide and Regional Resources for Businesses and Individuals During COVID-19

The Isothermal Regional Commission has set up a COVID-19 Resource Page for businesses and individuals who may have questions about available resources and services during this time. This page will be updated regularly.

Resources from the State of North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office.

We understand that broadband access is more critical at this time than ever before, as people need connectivity for telemedicine, telework, distance learning, connections to others, and for critical information.

We want to make sure you are aware that the NC Department of Information Technology, through the Broadband Infrastructure Office, launched a map of the offerings it has been made aware of for free or low-cost internet service, as well as the location of a growing number of Public Wi-Fi spots that broadband providers are making available around the state. The map is available at https://www.ncbroadband.gov/covid19broadband/.

In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined that community use of E-Rate supported Wi-Fi networks is permitted during school and library closures due to Covid-19. Therefore, our local school systems, that have the capacity, can now offer Public Wi-Fi to transmit outside of their school buildings, by reconfiguring the current school Wi-Fi networks. These Public Wi-Fi spots at the schools will also be posted on the website above.  We are working with the State Library to coordinate a similar effort, as possible, with local libraries that have Public Wi-Fi systems.  With these Public Wi-Fi areas being developed around the state, the public accessing the networks would need to follow social distancing guidelines and remain inside their vehicles. In addition, public institutions setting up Public Wi-Fi are encouraged to be hyper aware of cybersecurity issues and take precautions for securing any networks before opening them up to the public.

Broadband providers or other vendors with ideas, special offerings or Public Wi-Fi locations, are asked to submit them to: covid.vendor.ideas@nc.gov , so we can keep the public map up-to-date. School systems and libraries with Public Wi-Fi locations are asked to submit locations through the same email address so they can be added to our public map.

In addition to continuing to work closely with our broadband providers across the state, the Broadband Infrastructure Office’s Technical Assistance team is continuing to work with local leaders to share information and develop strategies for broadband access in local communities. We also work closely with the Hometown Strong team on outreach and coordination efforts in the relevant counties.

See our COVID-19 Internet and Mobile Services page for more information.

March 27, 2020…Special Announcement on Service Operations at the Commission

The Isothermal Regional Commission will be operating under a Stay at Home order from Rutherford County, the location of our operations [see order here]. From March 28th until April 17th, only essential personnel will report to the offices.

Essential employees will be in our Aging, Workforce and Community Development, Housing Division and Administration (accounts payable, Executive Director staff).  As such Housing and Administration divisions will both remote into office and or be on a staggered schedule to both adhere to Social Distancing and be available to our internal customers and our Housing Clientele.  All other divisions, specifically Workforce, Rural Planning (Transportation Planning), Community Development, and Economic Development, as well as Aging will work remotely.  Working Meetings will be done by either conference calls or remote methods to the extent that they are available and user accessible.  Public Meetings may be postponed, cancelled or rescheduled.  Please look to our web page at www.regionc.org for further information.

Staff Directory is https://regionc.org/contact/staff-directory/.  By dialing these extensions, staff on site or working remotely should be able to respond to questions, comments, or concerns.  


New…Isothermal Area Agency on Aging, Area Plan 2020

Every four years, the Area Agency on Aging completes a strategic work plan that drives the goals, strategies, and outcomes that our staff must focus on according to the mandates of the Older American’s Act and the collaborative work we do with our funded partners. Your input is important to that process.

While we know there is little that can be done about funding, there are aspects that, together, we may invest time and energy in advocating for change. You have important insight into how Aging Services are planned and delivered. The survey should take you less than 5 minutes to complete. To take the survey, got Isothermal Area Agency on Aging Area Plan.

The last day to complete the survey is April 10, 2020.  Thank you for your interest in the Area Agency on Aging.

North Carolina Broadband Indices Available

2-14-2020 New…The North Carolina Broadband Indices (Indices) available on our Broadband Page. Check it out at https://regionc.org/regional-development/economic-development-programs/broadband-resources/

New Hours for HCV (Section 8) Housing Offices.

Check out the new housing office hours of operation and find out more about the Isothermal Housing Choice Voucher Program here our Region at Housing Programs.

Region C Workforce Development Board Releases RFP for PY20 Programs

The Region C Workforce Development Board has released a RFP to provide Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth services.  These program cover the majority of Workforce Board training and education services offered across the Isothermal Region, through the region’s three NCWorks Career Centers.  The successful bidder(s) will be selected based on demonstrated abilities, past performance, a sound proposal, and cost effective service delivery.  We are requesting any bidder that is interested in submitting a proposal to first provide us with a Letter of Intent by March 2nd, 2020.  Final proposals are due on March 16th, 2020, with the contract start date set for July 1st, 2020.  For more information, please click here

Board of Directors Supports the designation of US74, Between I-26 and I-85 to a Future Interstate Quality Corridor

To see the Resolution, go to the US 74 Resolution by clicking here.

IPDC Staff Technical Assistance

New… The Isothermal Regional Commission held its first Technical Assistance Kickoff on January 30, 2020 at the IPDC Main Offices.  This kickoff event gave our newest team members a chance to meet our membership and to discuss ways to better serve the membership in the coming calendar year.   Economic, Community Development and Workforce Director Steve Lockett introduced our newest staff which includes Sarah Kopkin and Nick Byrd, who serve as Project Managers in the Economic and Community Development division.  In the Transportation Planning Division (RPO) the group was introduced to Jerry Stensland, who will be working on the Safe Routes to School Grant in Rutherford County as well as assisting RPO Director Karyl Fuller with RPO services to the member governments of Polk, Rutherford and McDowell Counties. 

Isothermal Regional staff discussed ways they can provide technical assistance for members, including: Zoning and planning needs, back office support, grant writing, project management, development of comprehensive plans or economic development strategies, and much more! Staff will also provide updates on the upcoming ARC grant cycle, as well as other funding sources, including the EDA, USDA, and Dogwood Foundation.  A handout of this information and staff contact is now available for folks.  Click here for further information.

There was  discussion about the upcoming land use changes of Chapter 160D of the State of North Carolina State Statutes. Our staff discussed with participating members where they may be of use to assist our members, ensuring compliance before the initial deadline at the end of 2020 and the grace period deadline in 2022. 

The 2020 Calendar year is full of Grant Opportunities and Commission staff discussed deadlines and other details for this list of Grants.  For a full list of Grants, click here.
To find out more about our Technical Assistance program, check out our website here: Technical Assistance.

The Isothermal Regional Commission, Isothermal Community College, McDowell Tech, and Cleveland County Community College Host Apprenticeship Meeting

The Regional Commission and our three partner Community Colleges in the Isothermal Region hosted a luncheon with Maureen Little of the NC Community College System presented to a full house of practitioners and industry on the importance of Apprenticeships in the current and future workforce. See our Economic Development, Community Development, and Workforce Development Page by clicking here.

Successful First Annual Isothermal Housing Summit held in Rutherfordton

Isothermal Regional Partners working on Housing Issues at First Annual Housing Summit

Isothermal Housing Task Force

New….Isothermal Housing Task Force to Meet on March 10th, Discussing the Housing Market Place

The Isothermal Housing Task Force will meet to discuss the Marketplace for Housing and will include a Panel of Regional Folks from the Banking ,Real Estate, and Contracting Industry’s.  The meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 10 at 2:00 PM at the IPDC offices, which are at 111 W. Court St. Rutherfordton.  Go to the AGENDA link and to the Regional Housing Needs Demand Study for further information.  The Isothermal Regional Housing Data page contains more detailed information about the Isothermal Region and Housing.  Click here for the page.

Staff assigned to this Task Force are Sarah Kopkin, a Project Manager in the Economic, Community, and Workforce Development Division and Tammy Phillips, the Family Self Sufficiency Coordinator in the Isothermal Regional Housing Division as well as serving as the  Housing Grant Administrator for Community Development Division.

On June 4, 2019, the Isothermal Regional Commission Board of Directors approved the 2019-2020 Budget. Click here to view the 2019-2020 Budget Message.

Employment Opportunities

The Isothermal Regional Commission is seeking interested candidates for the following positions: Housing Management Director and Receptionist. See our Employment Opportunities Page by clicking here.

Upcoming Board Meetings

The Executive Committee of the Isothermal Commissions Board of Directors will hold a Called Meeting on Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 4PM to consider language. To see the agenda, click here.


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