64 revitalizing projects in 217 Appalachian counties win $54 million to diversify their economies away from coal mining

On October 19, 2023, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded nearly $54 million to 64 revitalizing projects in 217 counties through its POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative.

POWER directs federal resources to economic diversification projects in Appalachian communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries.

This is the largest single POWER awards package to date since the initiative launched in 2015.

From workforce training and agriculture, to downtown development and broadband expansion, the projects receiving grants in this round of POWER funding show that the future of Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities is economically diverse and innovative,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin.

Projects like these are resulting in life-changing transformations, which in turn, not only provides new economic opportunities, but brings a renewed sense of hope and purpose across our Appalachian Region,” she added.

ARC’s $54 million investment announced today will support workforce development, agriculture and food economies, tourism, entrepreneurship, and more to help create jobs in new or existing industries, expand skills training, and attract more than $247 million in private investments in Appalachian communities affected by the downturn of the coal industry.

A new ARC report, Coal Production and Employment in Appalachia, indicates just how much these investments are needed. Between 2011 and 2022, coal industry employment in Appalachia fell by 62 percent, compared with nearly 43 percent in the rest of the United States.

The POWER Initiative is empowering the people and communities of Appalachia and helping us build a brighter future, full of opportunity,” said ARC 2023 States’ Co-Chair, Governor Andy Beshear.

These investments will help train our workers, expand new industries and build upon the progress being made in this important region. We’re grateful for ARC’s partnership as we continue to bring new industry and opportunity to Appalachia,” he continued.

Including this new award package, ARC has invested over $420 million in 507 projects impacting 365 coal-impacted counties since POWER was established in 2015.

These ARC’s investments are projected to create or retain more than 53,000 jobs and prepare over 142,000 workers and students for new opportunities in entrepreneurship, broadband, tourism, and other growing industries.

ARC plans to release a notice of solicitations of applications (NOSA) for the POWER Initiative in early 2024.

Photo of Keystone, West Virginia by 12019 from Pixabay.

See complete lists of these new awards (PDF).

Learn more about POWER.

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