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EDA Announces Grants to Spur Manufacturing Growth, Address Declining Coal Industry

August 18, 2016

Since the beginning of July, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced almost $7.3 million in grants to support advanced manufacturing and support workforce development efforts in communities impacted by the decline coal industry. In Florida and Washington, the EDA announced funding to support the facilities that can house local manufacturing firms and provide the space and equipment necessary for them to create jobs. In New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, the EDA accessed funding made available through EDA's Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) and Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative to support workforce development efforts that address job losses due to the decline of coal industries in those states.

Florida

On August 9, EDA announced that it will commit $2.2 million in grant funding to the Osceola County Board of County Commissioners to help build the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center. In partnership with Osceola County, the University of Central Florida and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council also have committed to support building the research and incubation facility that will focus on developing the next generation of universal smart sensors.

Washington

On August 9, EDA also announced that the Port of Camas-Washougal will receive $2.9 million in funding to build a facility that can house the expanded operations of local manufacturing firms. The 50,000-square-foot facility will house 10 manufacturing bays that will provide new industrial space that allows for local firms to expand their operation and create manufacturing jobs.

West Virginia

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on July 22 announced a $1.8 million grant to the Coalfield Development Corporation of Wayne County to rehabilitate the corporation’s West Edge Factory and accommodate workforce training and job placement programs. The intent of the new facility is to help more than 300 program participants over the next nine years achieve employment in Coalfield or another region of the state. EDA’s investment will support the rehabilitation of an existing factory to facilitate diversified workforce training and to allow for existing programs to expand into larger spaces. Through this POWER-funded grant, the EDA also hopes to spur economic diversification in Wayne, Mingo, and Lincoln counties and create new opportunities for local residents.

Pennsylvania

To support the diversification of several Western Pennsylvania counties, EDA will commit $400,000 in IMCP and POWER-backed funding for economic and workforce development, according to The Energy Report. Pittsburgh-based Catalyst Connection will serve as the lead applicant to boost manufacturing and provide job development opportunities for struggling communities whose livelihood once was based on coal mining. Activities supported under this grant funding include:

  • Marketing the region to potential investors and new manufacturers;
  • Addressing workforce needs;
  • Surveying regional markets to determine job opportunities and business needs; and,
  • Identifying business startup and expansion activity.

Partners in this initiative with Catalyst Connection include the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of West Virginia, Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development, Greene County Economic Development, JARI, West Virginia University and the University of Pittsburgh.

New York

On July 22, EDA announced a $160,000 grant to the Research Foundation of State University of New York — on behalf of the University of Buffalo — to help develop a strategy that will assist the town of Tonawanda, N.Y., in addressing the sudden and severe economic distress experienced as a result of the recent closure of the NRG Huntley coal plant. Funded by the POWER program, the strategy will focus on leveraging “existing local and regional planning and economic development strategies to create a cohesive response that will help the town pursue new economic opportunities and handle the change to its economic and tax revenue base,” according to Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. 

Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginiamanufacturing, workforce, dept of commerce