ARC announces $44.4 million investment for coal-impacted communities - The Trail Blazer: News

ARC announces $44.4 million investment for coal-impacted communities

Staff Report | ARC Press Release | | Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2019 12:57 pm

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced a $44.4 million investment to promote economic development and diversity in coal-impacted communities. 

The investment will work through the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Initiative (POWER) and will train thousands of students and workers within industry sectors like broadband, substance abuse recovery, entrepreneurship and tourism. 

“Ensuring a prosperous future in coal-impacted communities is something Appalachia will do together,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas in a press release from the ARC. I am very proud of the leadership and innovation shown by this round of POWER grantees.”

POWER is a congressionally funded initiative designed to target federal recourses to provide aid to regions and communities that have been affected by job loss in the coal mining industry.  

The investment is divided into 54 POWER investments that are expected to create or retain 2,940 businesses and over 5,700 jobs as well as leverage more than $39 million in private investment. 

The investment will go to 232 counties in nine 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,” said Thomas.

“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.”

Over $14.6 million (33 percent) will go towards advancing entrepreneurship in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia by developing businesses that help boost startup companies and provide more access to capital and other services. 

More than $13 million (30 percent) will back the expansion and development of broadband in New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. 

More than $8.3 million (19 percent) is dedicated to comprehensive strategies like workforce-to-recovery which are support services to help those struggling with addiction recover and return to the workforce in Kentucky, North Caroline, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.