Largest POWER funding package to date is expected to create an estimated 13,700 new jobs and train over 4,600 workers for new opportunities in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities.
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 19, 2023—Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded nearly $54 million to 64 projects in 217 counties through its POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which 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.”
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.”
Including today’s 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. To learn more about today’s awardees and their work to boost industries that create a stronger economic future for Appalachia, visit www.arc.gov/POWER.
About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development entity of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.