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Appalachian Regional Commission Invests in Obama Administration Economic Initiative in Coal-Impacted Communities

October 2015

Projects in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and Ohio Will Help Diversify Local Economies


SOMERSET, Kentucky, October 15, 2015—Today, Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl announced ARC's first round of investments in the Obama administration's Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative. POWER, which was announced at the end of March, is a coordinated effort among multiple federal agencies to develop integrated investments in communities and workers impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector. The ARC POWER awards announced today total $443,700 invested in six projects in four Appalachian states. They are part of a total federal POWER investment of more than $14.5 million made by ARC and three additional agencies: the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

"These federal investments will provide critical leverage for local leaders to make things happen in Appalachian communities," said Gohl. "Initiatives like these build the Region's entrepreneurial ecosystem and contribute to making Appalachia the next great investment opportunity in America."

Each of ARC's investments includes leveraged support from other federal agency partners. The ARC POWER grantees include:

  • Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Elizabethtown, Kentucky: $75,000 to provide technical assistance, business planning, and marketing for the Jackson County Regional Food Center in Tyner, Kentucky. Additional support will be provided by the EDA.
  • Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), Pikeville, Kentucky: $75,000 to offer advanced training and professional development to regional economic developers through the Kentucky Institute for Economic Development. Additional support will be provided by the EDA.
  • Appalshop, Whitesburg, Kentucky: $75,000 to develop a comprehensive workforce development program to train workers in southeast Kentucky for careers in the tech industry. Additional support will be provided by the EDA.
  • Friends of Southwest Virginia, Abingdon, Virginia: $75,000 to continue cultivating the growing tourism and recreation industry in the region through business development. Additional support will be provided by the EDA.
  • Williamson Health and Wellness Center, Williamson, West Virginia: $75,000 to continue developing the Health Innovation and Food HUB, a business incubator facilitating entrepreneurial development. Additional support will be provided by the EDA.
  • Rural Action, The Plains, Ohio: $68,700 to expand social enterprise development and technical assistance to support regional emerging economic sectors such as sustainable forestry. Additional support will be provided by the SBA.

Gohl announced the awards during ARC's 2015 annual conference, attended by more than 300 economic development professionals from across Appalachia. He was joined by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Jay Williams, and U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Byron Zuidema.