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Obama Administration Awards $38.8M to Support Economic, Workforce Development Projects in Coal-Impacted Communities

August 31, 2016

The Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) have announced $38.8 million in funding as a part of the Obama administration’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative – a coordinated federal effort to align, leverage and target a range of federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities negatively impacted by global transition away from coal.  In addition to $38.8 million in federal support, the federal partners anticipate that POWER investments will help coal-impacted communities leverage an additional $67 million from other public and private partners.

Projects will address one or more of four goals including to:

  • Diversify the commercial and industrial base of local and regional economies;
  • Create jobs in new and/or existing industries;
  • Attract new sources of private and public investment; and,
  • Provide a range of workforce services and skills training for high-quality, in-demand jobs.

Thanks to a partnership with ARC, a limited number of scholarships to SSTI’s 2016 Annual Conference are available for organizations within ARC’s footprint. The scholarship application is now online.

The 29 federal investments include:

  • $7.5 million for the Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) project – to purchase equipment, instructional supplies, and other materials to help launch a new College of Optometry at the University of Pikeville in Pikeville, KY;
  • $2.8 million for the TechHire Eastern Kentucky (TEKY) Initiative: Developing a Technology-Driven Workforce project – to offer several avenues to industry-led accelerated technology training, paid work-based internships, and employment opportunities in IT careers by the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) in Hazard, KY;
  • $2.5 million for the Mercer County Regional Airport Development and Diversification initiative;
  • $2.3 million for the Upshur County Knowledge and Innovation Business Center – to construct a new business center that provides services targeted to IT and other technology-based business interests by the Upshur County Development Authority in Buckhannon, WV;
  • $2.2 million for the EntreEd K-14: Every Student, Every Year project – to enable K-12 teachers to integrate entrepreneurial content and context into delivery of required standards in any subject or grade level, an effort led by the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education in Charleston, WV;
  • $2 million for the Leveraging Innovation Gateways and Hubs Toward Sustainability (LIGHTS) project – to establish four strategically located innovation HUBs and five regional gateway centers in Southern Ohio led by Ohio University in Athens, OH;
  • $2 million for the Economic Transition for Eastern Kentucky (ETEK) initiative – to expand services by the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) in Berea, KY, including retraining and entrepreneurial technical assistance services, energy efficiency intern programs, and a $1 million venture capital loan fund targeted at dislocated and current coal workers;
  • $1.9 million for the Appalachian Social Entrepreneurship Investment Strategy – to support services offered by the Coalfield Development Corporation in Wayne, WV, that include incubating social enterprises, scaling-up its workforce development model, and expand its service area;
  • $1.8 million for the Hardwood Cluster Manufacturing Expansion project in Randolph County Development Authority in Elkins, WV;
  • $1.7 million for the Mingo County Air Transportation Park Infrastructure Improvements project;
  • $1.5 million for the Central Appalachian Food Enterprise Corridor – to support a local foods distribution network throughout Central Appalachia led by the Appalachian Sustainable Development in Abington, VA;
  • $1.5 million for the Downtown Revitalization in the Promise Zone project in Southeastern Kentucky –  will help revitalize the downtowns of 8 distressed towns in the Southeastern Kentucky Promise Zone, the effort is led by the University of Kentucky Research Foundation in Lexington, KY;
  • $1.4 million for the Retraining Energy Displaced Individuals (REDI) Center for Dislocated Coal Miners program – will provide fast-track reemployment services directly to displaced coal miners to help them gain employment in three sectors - advanced manufacturing, construction, and health technology – led by the Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in Cedar Bluff, VA;
  • $1.4 million for the Southern Coalfields Sustainable Tourism & Entrepreneurship program – to develop and implement a comprehensive program to expand tourism-related employment and businesses in southern West Virginia led by the Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreation Authority in Man, WV;
  • $1.3 million for the Growing Triple Bottom Line Small Businesses in Coal Impacted Communities in Central Appalachia project – to expand coal-impacted communities’ access to capital in Southern West Virginia by capitalizing a $4 million tourism-related revolving loan fund and developing a West Virginia New Markets Tax Credit Fund led by the Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc. in Shepherdstown, WV;
  • $1 million for the Shoals Shift project – to offer a wide range of entrepreneurial programming in Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc. in Shepherdstown, WV, led by the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center in Florence, AL;
  • $1 million for the New River Gorge Region - Developing an Entrepreneurial Economy project – to establish a technical assistance support program for startups and to hire social enterprise and region-wide business coaches by the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority in Beckley, WV;
  • $600,000 Dislocated Worker Grant to the Texas Workforce Commission – to provide reemployment services to 85 dislocated workers impacted by recent layoffs in the coal industry in Hopkins and Titus counties;
  • $500,000 for the Nature Tourism Cluster Development in the PA Wilds project – to create a coordinated regional cluster development system to capitalize on Pennsylvania’s numerous nature-tourism assets that spread across 2 million acres in 12 counties;
  • $250,000 for Advantage Valley Site Development and Small Business Feasibility Study – to identify sites for commercial development within identified clusters (including manufacturing, chemical and polymer production, and supply chain distribution), and assess how small business activities can be targeted to meet the needs of existing and new industry clusters (such as health care) in an eight-county area by the Advantage Valley, Incorporated (AVI) in Huntington, WV;
  • $200,000 for the Hobet Strategic Plan – to develop a detailed economic assessment and strategic plan for the best use of the Hobet Surface Mine Site in Boone and Lincoln Counties by the West Virginia Development Office;
  • $120,000 for the NRGRDA Regional Business Loan Study – to assess the feasibility of establishing a comprehensive Regional Loan Fund by the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) in Fayetteville, WV;
  • $60,202 for a Strategic Plan Focusing on Entrepreneurship in Coal-Impacted Counties in the Appalachian Part of Alabama by the Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, AL;
  • $22,758 for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Commercialization Center Plan – to analyze and develop a project plan for the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Commercialization Center that is expected to serve 14 counties in OH, PA, and WV by Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH;
  • $10,000 for the Creating Opportunities, Diversifying Economy for displaced coal miners (CODE) project – to develop a sustainable plan for economic diversification for 12 counties in WV by the EdVenture Group in Morgantown, WV;
  • $750,000 for research opioid abuse and related problems of HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) in Appalachia's coal communities;
  • $400,00 to expand the Cool & Connected Initiative – to help 10 Appalachian coal-impacted communities use broadband service to revitalize small-town main streets and promote economic development;
  • $352,000 – to provide training, technical support, and expanded market opportunities to Appalachian-based coal supply chain companies through partnerships developed at MineExpo 2016; and,
  • $60,000 – for a partnership with the National Association of Counties Research Foundation to provide additional technical assistance to 11 teams from Appalachian coal communities that participated in the EDA-funded Innovation Challenge for Coal-Reliant Communities Program

Additional information about the POWER Initiative is available at www.eda.gov/power orwww.arc.gov/power.



eda, federal agency, dept of labor, workforce, energy