ARC announces $26.5M initiative to diversify region’s coal-impacted communities

35 Awards in 9 States Support Workforce Training, Industry Growth, and Infrastructure Developments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced on Thursday $26.5 million to expand and diversify the economy in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities through the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative.

These 35 awards are projected to create or retain over 5,400 jobs and leverage more than $193 million in private investment into 59 of the region’s coal-impacted counties by supporting workforce training and education in manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and other industry sectors. They also invest in infrastructure enhancements to continue developing the region’s tourism, entrepreneurial and agriculture sectors, as well as increase access to community-based capital, including impact-investing funds, venture capital and angel investment streams.

“Today’s announcement is continued support for the work already underway to create new opportunities for those living in communities hardest hit by changes in the coal industry,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas. “These grants are a commitment to long-term diversification and economic growth in Appalachia.”

ARC’s POWER Investments support economic growth in coal-mining counties and in communities along the Region’s coal supply chain.

A summary of today’s announced awards, as well as more information about ARC’s work in diversifying the economy in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities, is available at www.arc.gov/power.

POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) is a congressionally funded initiative that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production.

With today’s announcements, ARC has invested over $120 million in 149 projects touching 309 counties across Appalachia since 2015. ARC is working with Chamberlin/Dunn LLC, a third-party research firm, to monitor, analyze, and evaluate these investments.

Earlier this year, ARC published An Economic Analysis of the Appalachian Coal Industry Ecosystem (CIE), a research series examining how Appalachia’s coal industry ecosystem is being impacted due to changes in the coal industry. These reports explore some of the current and future economic effects of declining coal production on various components of Appalachia’s CIE, including supply chain industries, electric power generation, and transportation.

The research finds that the impacts of the region’s changing coal economy go far beyond the communities where coal is produced and touch communities throughout Appalachia. The study also describes occupations that may be affected by losses in the coal industry ecosystem, offers state-by-state analyses comparing these impacted occupations to similar occupations in other industries, and identifies where former coal industry workers might find alternative employment opportunities.

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