Technical Assistance Resources in Kentucky

March 6, 2024
min read

Technical Assistance (TA) can be broadly defined as a process of providing training, assistance, expert advice, or other types of support to supplement the capabilities of an organization, coalition, or municipality. TA allows organizations to do work beyond the services or skills they have available in house.

Grant Ready Kentucky receives frequent inquiries about TA resources, and it is no wonder. While there are many resources available, they can be difficult to find, scattered across multiple agencies, buried in grant resource lists, or masked by industry jargon. 

Over the next several weeks, we will be releasing a series of articles highlighting free or low-cost TA resources available to Kentucky nonprofits and communities. We will focus on resources that help with planning, developing, or managing grant-funded projects. For this first article we are going to share some of the major general resources out there, but first we want to take some time to go over terminology you will see as you search for these resources.

Technical Assistance Terminology

Technical Assistance (TA) resources generally fall into three broad categories: funding for TA, direct TA, and educational/information resources. 

Funding for TA: A number of federal grants are TA funding grants, in that they provide funding for the awardee to use towards hiring staff or procurement of expert firms to assist with project planning or development. This could include hiring a consulting firm to conduct research or a technical team to carry out an assessment. 

Direct TA: These include services, advice, or expertise delivered directly to an organization. This can be anything from experts completing a feasibility study to training on community outreach.

Informational/Educational: Often, we find these in the form of free online resource hubs with articles, webinars, or how-to guides.

Under the category of direct TA, resources often break down into several other categories, which can be helpful to understand as you search:

Planning and Development Technical Assistance

This category can include any type of TA that an organization may need to kick off a project. If you are looking for any of the following types of assistance, you can search for “planning TA” or “Development TA”:

  • Grant Application Assistance: Government agencies issuing grant notices frequently provide free technical support for those applying, especially when the funding is aimed at under-resourced or historically marginalized groups. This support is mainly geared towards meeting the technical aspects of submitting a federal grant, rather than aiding with the proposal itself. Assistance might include guidance on how to use the application portal or a grant manager checking your application to confirm it has all the necessary components.
  • Proposal Development: This type of TA addresses your project proposal itself. This may be an expert helping you think through your budget, your model for change, your program evaluation, or other key proposal elements. This  category of TA may also include direct grant writing support.
  • Planning Consultants: We often see this when large projects like transportation or other infrastructure projects are undertaken. This type of TA enlists experts to conduct the planning phases of those projects.
  • Assessments/Studies: This type of TA is offered for specific, necessary assessments or studies, such as feasibility or environmental impact studies, which may be required before work can begin on a complex project. This type of TA is often offered for free when it is required for large, federally funded grants. For example, a specific assessment is required for many brownfields projects in order for them to be eligible for federal funding, which the EPA’s Brownfields TA center offers.

Project Implementation/Project Delivery

This category covers TA that is necessary for the implementation of a project and can include ongoing TA that runs for the life of the project. Here are a few of the sub-categories we see frequently:

  • Training: Typically when we see a training resource listed under project implementation we think of specific staff training or executive training to carry out that project. For example, the Department of Transportation may provide training to public bus drivers on new energy efficient vehicles.
  • Compliance: This type of TA is usually very specific to either a particular regulation(s) that impacts a project or to maintaining compliance with grant funding requirements such as the “Uniform Guidance” requirements (2 CFR 200) for federal awards. It can also pertain to maintaining compliance with 501c(3) tax-exempt status.
  • Ongoing, Direct TA: This is any type of assistance that will be ongoing throughout the life of a project. The category is broad. For example, a clean water project  might hire a research consultancy for the life of the project to take and analyze water samples and provide guidance. 
  • Grant Management and Evaluation: This can be TA provided by the government grant manager on maintaining the project requirements, or it can come from an outside consultant. Often, it can be helpful to hire an outside evaluator to assess the project on an ongoing basis as well.

Major Technical Assistance Resources

Now that we’ve covered some terminology, let’s take a look at some of the big TA resources pertaining to Kentucky and many of the questions we’ve received! Remember, over the next several weeks we will be doing a more in-depth dive into TA resources for specific project categories including transportation, brownfields, water, energy, and more.

The White House’s Investing in America Technical Assistance Guide

This guide provides comprehensive information about more than 100 federal TA programs that can support efforts to win federal funding and deploy it in communities. It is a great place to start exploring TA resources, especially for infrastructure or energy projects. In addition to the guide itself, the White House also released a sortable spreadsheet to make the guide easier to sort and search. 

Interagency Working Group’s Technical Assistance Database

The Interagency Working Group on Coal & Power Plant Communities & Economic Revitalization maintains a searchable database of TA funding. These resources are relevant to a broad range of projects including economic development, education and workforce development, infrastructure, strategy and planning, water, energy, and more, and are specific to the grant submission process.

Interagency Working Group’s Navigator

The IWG Navigator is a dedicated team of experts who can answer questions and direct energy community stakeholders to the federal agency partners or resources best positioned to support their needs, including grant assistance, infrastructure, workforce development, and more.  The Navigator is a team of real people who understand the challenges community leaders and workers face as their communities transition to clean energy.

To contact the Navigator, visit

Local Infrastructure Hub

Through the national Local Infrastructure Hub, small and mid-sized municipalities can receive a suite of free TA support to develop strong grant applications, with a special focus on the nearly 400 opportunities stemming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  Cities of all sizes can access free resources such as the LIH’s learning library, grant search tool, and examples of successful winning applications. Cities with populations of 150,000 or less may register, at no cost, for a rotating series of grant application bootcamps.  Bootcamps are designed to support cities through the grant application process with coaching by subject-matter experts, templates, peer learning opportunities, and more.  

Rural Partners Network

The Rural Partners Network is working on the ground in selected RPN areas to help communities develop local capacity, secure technical assistance, and navigate and access programs from across the federal government and other providers. 

Community Networks in Kentucky:

  1. Fulton County
    Counties of Fulton, Kentucky and South Fulton, Tennessee.
  2. Kentucky Highlands
    Counties of Bell, Perry, Harlan, Leslie, Letcher, Whitley, Knox, Clay.   

Just Transition Fund's Federal Access Center

The Just Transition Fund’s Federal Access Center provides both direct technical assistance and TA funding grants to help communities identify, prepare, and apply for federal funding opportunities. 

The following Kentucky counties are prioritized for support from the Federal Access Center, which targets projects in three categories: community economic development, workforce development, or  broadband.

  • Counties of Bell, Boone, Boyd, Breathitt, Carroll, Clay, Daviess, Estill, Floyd, Harlan, Henderson, Hopkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Livingston, Magoffin, Martin, Mason, McCracken, McLean, Mercer, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Trimble, Union, Webster, Whitley.

Application-ready projects that are considering applying for federal funding can complete this short interest form to request support from the Just Transition Fund.  

Kentucky’s Area Development Districts

Area Development Districts (ADDs) in Kentucky are regional planning and development organizations that aim to foster economic growth and improve the quality of life in their communities. They coordinate various programs and services across local government boundaries, including economic development, workforce training, eldercare, community services, infrastructure planning, GIS data-mapping, and more. ADDs serve as a bridge between local needs and state and federal resources, ensuring that communities have access to necessary funding and support for projects.  With experienced grant professionals on staff, ADDs can assist communities in identifying available grant opportunities or in preparing applications for the new G.R.A.N.T. Program.  

All 120 counties in Kentucky are served by one of fifteen local ADDs working across the Commonwealth.  Find your local ADD here.

Kentucky Nonprofit Network

The Kentucky Nonprofit Network offers TA tools, informational resources, and expert consultants. Their “Learn” page offers a variety of training and tools in relation to forming a nonprofit, board governance, strategic planning, and more. Some of these tools are offered free to nonmembers, while others require membership to access. A few that we find helpful are:

Last but not least, KNN keeps a directory of professional consultants and service providers for nonprofit organizations here.

Stay Exempt: Small to Mid-Size Tax Exempt Organization Workshop

For those of you who are starting, or have recently started a nonprofit, this is a free, 10-part self-paced virtual workshop offered by the IRS. It covers the benefits, limitations, and expectations for exempt organizations. It is offered in both video and PDF formats.

Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS)

The Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) collects and integrates education and workforce data so policymakers, practitioners, and the public can make the best informed decisions possible.  It is an invaluable resource for Kentucky-specific data to support grant applications or project planning.  If the specific data needed isn’t available in their report library, summary-level data can be requested here, typically for free or at cost. For more details on using this resource to boost grant proposals, view our webinar here.

Do you know of a great Technical Assistance resource we’ve missed? Let us know:


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