On February 22, 2022, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for its POWER Initiative (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization), which supports economic diversification in Appalachia’s communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries.
The POWER Initiative makes available approximately $25 million in federal resources to leverage entrepreneurship, workforce development efforts, and infrastructure projects to bolster job training and reemployment opportunities, create jobs in existing or new industries, and attract new sources of private investment in coal-impacted communities.
“It is vital that we continue to invest in communities throughout Appalachia that are affected by job losses in the coal industry,” said ARC States’ Co-Chair Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland.
“Projects made possible with investments from ARC’s POWER Initiative will continue to help revitalize the workforce through new opportunities in various industries,” he added.
Since POWER’s establishment in 2015, ARC has invested more than $294 million in 369 projects across 354 coal-impacted Appalachian counties. Together, ARC’s investments are projected to have helped create or retain more than 35,300 jobs and prepare more than 10,000 workers and students for new opportunities in entrepreneurship, broadband development, tourism, and other emerging industry sectors.
Successful POWER grant applications will demonstrate the ability to produce diverse economic development outcomes, including diversifying commercial and industrial bases of local and regional economies, creating well-paying jobs in new or emerging industries, expanding workforce service and skills training, and attracting new sources of public and private investment.
Proposals may also include plans to integrate multiple economic development systems and support the implementation of existing economic development strategic plans on a local, regional, or federal level.
“Meaningful POWER projects are resulting in economic transformations and providing hope in coal-impacted communities all around Appalachia,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “ARC looks forward to assisting communities in our 13 Appalachian states as they pursue initiatives leading to a brighter future for our region.”
Award announcements are anticipated to be made in the fall of 2022.
Prospective applicants are encouraged to participate in a virtual pre-application workshop on Tuesday, March 10, 2022. ARC staff will outline key points in the new RFP and the characteristics of a successful application, and attendees will have the opportunity to ask their questions during an interactive Q&A session. Learn more and register here.
Letters of Intent (LOI) for implementation grants up to $1.5 million and planning grants up to $50,000 under POWER are due April 4, 2022. The deadline for final applications is April 29, 2022.