Coal communities in 7 states get nearly $40 million in grants for economic and workforce development

The Obama Administration announced yesterday awards totaling $38.8 million for 29 economic and workforce development projects across seven states – Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia – to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry.

The awards are administered by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA).  The administration estimates that through this funding, 3,418 jobs will be created or retained, and an additional $66,970,000 will be leveraged through investments from other public and private partners.

The funds were awarded through the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative, which is a coordinated Administration effort, involving ten federal agencies, with the goal of effectively aligning, leveraging and targeting a range of federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities and workers 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 sector.

Most of these awards were awarded through a competitive POWER federal funding opportunity released in March of this year and propose to do one or more of the following:

  • 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.

West Virginia received the most funding of any single state: organizations there were awarded $16,492,174 for 13 projects. Kentucky came in second with $13,710,484 for four projects. Organizations in Virginia received $2,917,375 for two projects; Ohio received $2,022,758 for two projects; Alabama received $1,057,352 for two projects; Texas received $559,005 for one project and Pennsylvania received $500,000 for one project. In addition, $1,562,000 was awarded to support four multi-state  projects to strengthen entrepreneurship, expand market opportunities and address key issues in Appalachia's coal communities.


POWER Implementation Award Summaries:

KY - $7,474,100 total (a $4,974,100 EDA grant and a $2,500,000 ARC grant) to the University of Pikeville in Pikeville, KY for the Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) project.

KY - $2,750,000 ARC grant to the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) in Hazard, KY for the TechHire Eastern Kentucky (TEKY) Initiative: Developing a Technology-Driven Workforce project.

WV - $2,500,000 total (a $1,500,000 ARC grant and a $1,000,000 EDA grant) to the Bluewell Public Service District in Bluefield, WV for the Mercer County Regional Airport Development and Diversification Initiative.

WV - $2,285,049 EDA grant to Upshur County Development Authority in Buckhannon, WV, for the Upshur County Knowledge and Innovation Business Center.

WV - $2,196,450 ARC grant to the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education in Charleston, WV for the EntreEd K-14: Every Student, Every Year project.

KY - $2,022,133 ARC grant to the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) in Berea, KY for the Economic Transition for Eastern Kentucky (ETEK) Initiative.

OH - $2,000,000 ARC grant to Ohio University in Athens, OH for the Leveraging Innovation Gateways and Hubs Toward Sustainability (LIGHTS) project.

WV - $1,870,000 ARC grant to the Coalfield Development Corporation in Wayne, WV for the Appalachian Social Entrepreneurship Investment Strategy

WV - $1,822,500 total (a $1,200,000 EDA grant and a $622,500 ARC grant) to the Randolph County Development Authority in Elkins, WV for the Hardwood Cluster Manufacturing Expansion Project.

WV - $1,648,400 EDA grant to Mingo County Redevelopment Authority (MCRA) and Mingo County Public Service District in Williamson, WV for the Mingo County Air Transportation Park Infrastructure Improvements project.

VA - $1,500,000 ARC grant to Appalachian Sustainable Development in Abington, VA for the Central Appalachian Food Enterprise Corridor.

KY - $1,464,251 ARC grant to the University of Kentucky Research Foundation in Lexington, KY for the Downtown Revitalization in the Promise Zone project.

VA - $1,417,375 ARC grant to Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in Cedar Bluff, VA for the Retraining Energy Displaced Individuals (REDI) Center for Dislocated Coal Miners program.

WV - $1,372,275 ARC grant to the Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreation Authority in Man, WV for the Southern Coalfields Sustainable Tourism & Entrepreneurship Program.

WV - $1,250,000 ARC grant to the Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc. in Shepherdstown, WV for the Growing Triple Bottom Line Small Businesses in Coal Impacted Communities in Central Appalachia project.

AL - $997,150 ARC grant to the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center in Florence, AL for the Shoals Shift project.

WV - $967,500 ARC grant to the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority in Beckley, WV for the New River Gorge Region - Developing an Entrepreneurial Economy project.

TX - $559,005 ETA National 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.

PA - $500,000 ARC grant to Pennsylvania Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. in Russell, PA for the Nature Tourism Cluster Development in the PA Wilds project.

POWER Planning Grant and Technical Assistance Award Summaries:

WV - $250,000 EDA grant to the Advantage Valley, Incorporated (AVI) in Huntington, WV for the AVI Site Development and Small Business Feasibility Study.

WV - $200,000 ARC grant to the West Virginia Development Office for the Hobet Strategic Plan.

WV - $120,000 EDA grant to New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) in Fayetteville, WV for a NRGRDA Regional Business Loan Study.

AL - $60,202 ARC grant to the Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Alabama, for the development of a strategic plan focusing on entrepreneurship in coal-impacted counties in the Appalachian part of Alabama. 

OH - $22,758 ARC grant to Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, to analyze and develop a project plan for the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Commercialization Center. 

WV - $10,000 ARC grant to The EdVenture Group in Morgantown, West Virginia for the Creating Opportunities, Diversifying Economy for displaced coal miners (CODE) project to develop a sustainable plan for economic diversification. 

POWER Special Projects Summaries:

MULTI - $750,000 to continue a collaborative effort with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal partners to research opioid abuse and related problems of HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) in Appalachia's coal communities.

MULTI - $400,000 for a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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. 

MULTI - $352,000 to provide training, technical support, and expanded market opportunities to Appalachian-based coal supply chain companies through partnerships developed at MineExpo 2016, the world’s largest and most comprehensive exposition dedicated to mining equipment, products , and services. 

MULTI - $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 Communitie