Appalachian Regional Commission announces $22.8M to diversify, strengthen region’s coal-impacted communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has announced $22.8 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 33 awards are projected to create or retain nearly 1,000 jobs, benefit over 3,300 students and workers, and leverage more than $21.8 million in private investment into manufacturing, agriculture, technology, substance abuse recovery, broadband development, and other industry sectors across coal-impacted communities in nine Appalachian states.

“Today’s announcement continues an ongoing commitment for innovative economic development in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas. “Investing in key regional needs now—like comprehensive substance abuse recovery strategies, broadband development, and skilled workforce training—will benefit Appalachia, and the rest of the country, well into the future.”

$5.75 million, representing over 25 percent of today’s announced investment dollars, will go towards recovery-to-workforce, second chance employment opportunities, and other similar strategies focusing on integrating successful job training efforts into substance abuse recovery programs in Kentucky and West Virginia. In addition, a total of $3.8 million, or more than 16 percent of today’s investment dollars, will go towards broadband implementation projects in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, as well as additional support for feasibility studies and other technical assistance needs for broadband deployment in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee.

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 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 announcement, ARC has invested over $144.8 million in 182 projects touching 312 counties across Appalachia since 2015. ARC is working with Chamberlin/Dunn LLC, a third-party research firm, to monitor, analyze, and evaluate these investments.

ARC is currently accepting Requests for Proposals (RFP) for POWER 2019 funding. Approximately $45 million will be made available via the POWER 2019 funding cycle. Proposals are due April 10, 2019, 5:00 pm (EDT), and can be made via www.arc.gov/power.

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