WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has announced a $44.4 million investment package 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 54 awards are projected to create or retain over 5,700 jobs, leverage more than $39 million in private investment, create and/or retain 2,940 businesses, and train thousands of workers and students within the broadband, entrepreneurship, substance abuse recovery, tourism and other industry sectors across coal-impacted communities in nine Appalachian states.
“The downturn of the coal market has been devastating to Appalachian communities, especially those that relied on coal extraction and related supply chains for generations. POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting these communities as they diversify economies, invest in growth-oriented infrastructure, train a next-generation workforce, and ingrain resiliency and hope into their local fabric,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “Ensuring a prosperous future in coal-impacted communities is something Appalachia will do together. I am very proud of the leadership and innovation shown by this round of POWER grantees.”
More than $14.6 million, or 33%, of these investments will develop business incubators, increase access to capital, and provide other services to advance entrepreneurship in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Over $13 million, or nearly 30%, of these investments will support broadband development and expansion in rural and/or underserved areas in New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
More than $8.3 million, or 19%, of these investments will focus on workforce-to-recovery and other comprehensive strategies to strengthen the recovery ecosystem in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.
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 announcement, ARC has invested over $190 million in 239 projects touching 326 counties across Appalachia. ARC is working with Chamberlin/Dunn LLC, a third-party research firm, to monitor, analyze, and evaluate these investments.