Home » $2.9 million in grants aim to boost workforce skills in Kentucky’s coal-impacted communities

$2.9 million in grants aim to boost workforce skills in Kentucky’s coal-impacted communities

Appalachian Regional Commission money going to state Dept. for Local Government

FRANKFORT, Ky. (October 12, 2018) – The Kentucky Department for Local Government announced today a $2,985,200 investment by the Appalachian Regional Commission to expand and diversify the economy in Kentucky’s coal-impacted communities. Four grants will contribute to expanding workforce training and education across Appalachia’s manufacturing, technology 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 awards include:

• $1,305,200 to the Appalachian Wildlife Center Foundation, Inc. in Corbin, Ky. to install a wastewater treatment facility to serve the Appalachian Wildlife Center. The center is slated to feature the largest elk restoration and viewing area in the United States and boost tourism within the tristate area.

• $1,000,000 to the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Ky. to support the center’s Community Oriented Access to Learning (COAL) program. The training program will serve 14 counties in southern and eastern Kentucky that have been impacted by the downturn of coal production.

• $600,000 to Hazard Community and Technical College to expand the college’s welding technology program.

• $80,000 to Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College for an assessment of investment opportunities in five counties (Bell, Harlan, Knott, Letcher and Perry), focusing on identifying redevelopment projects that also include potential entrepreneurship components.

“Kentucky’s coal-impacted communities are places of innovation, ingenuity and tremendous work ethic,” DLG Commissioner Sandra K. Dunahoo said. “It is a pleasure to award these grants today to projects that will help diversify the economy, as well as bring fresh ideas and new opportunities to the region.”

These awards are part of ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization), 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, including more than 100 investments in Kentucky.

“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.”

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 (CIE) 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 stateby- state analyses comparing these impacted occupations to similar occupations in other industries, and identifies where former coal industry workers might find alternative employment opportunities.

The Department for Local Government is an arm of the Office of the Governor dedicated to supporting local officials and communities.

The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region.