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ARC POWER Initiative awards $47 million to diversify Appalachian economies

October 20, 2022
By: Emily Chesser

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) recently announced its largest POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative funding package. This funding package awards nearly $47 million to 52 projects in 181 counties to support economic diversification and mitigate job losses from coal-related industries in Appalachian communities. 

The $47 million investment will support new and existing industries like agriculture, tourism, and entrepreneurship and invest in workforce development and skills training programs to counteract the negative impacts of the declining coal industry. These projects are largely successful, according to an evaluation from Chamberlin/Dunn, which found that many projects funded by the POWER Initiative exceeded output targets and that ARC’s investments have helped create or retain over 39,600 jobs.

This announcement marks the second award announcement for the ARC POWER Initiative this year. The first took place in March 2022 and awarded almost $21 million to POWER projects. With both announcements, the ARC POWER Initiative has funded nearly $68 million worth of projects in FY 2022. Since the establishment of POWER in 2015, the initiative has invested almost $366.6 million through 447 projects. In early 2023, ARC will release another proposal request for the POWER Initiative.

Among the winners is SSTI Member, the West Virginia University Research Corporation, which was awarded $50,000 to explore and address workforce needs in electric utility and other energy sectors in West Virginia.

West Virginiaappalachia, ARC, economic development, workforce