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Obama Administration Announces $65.8 Million Available for Economic and Workforce Development in Coal-Impacted Communities

March 2016

Funding Part of Obama Administration’s POWER Initiative

Wendy Wasserman, Appalachian Regional Commission,; 202.884.7771
Breelyn Pete, U.S. Economic Development Administration,; 202.482.6395

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2016—Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the availability of $65.8 million through the Obama Administration’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative to develop new strategies for economic growth and worker advancement for communities that have historically relied on the coal economy for economic stability. With this announcement, communities and regions that have been negatively impacted by changes in the coal economy—including mining, coal-fired power plants, and related transportation, logistics, and manufacturing supply chains—can apply for resources to help strengthen their economies and workforces. Funds are available for a range of activities, including:

  • Developing projects that diversify local and regional economies, create jobs in new and/or existing industries, attract new sources of job-creating investment, and provide a range of workforce services and skills training;
  • Building partnerships to attract and invest in the economic future of coal-impacted communities;
  • Increasing capacity and other technical assistance fostering long-term economic growth and opportunity in coal-impacted communities.

“Through the POWER Initiative, the Obama Administration has committed to helping coal-impacted communities diversify their economies amidst the changing power sector landscape,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. “EDA is pleased to lead this important initiative with our federal partners to help communities across the nation access federal support to create jobs, attract capital investments, and strengthen workforce development in their regions.”

“Many communities across Appalachia—from coal mines to Main Streets—are being impacted as the world changes the way it produces and consumes electricity,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl. “The POWER Initiative can be a game changer for Appalachia by partnering with these communities and investing federal resources to support local initiatives that will forge sustainable economic paths for the future.”

The POWER Initiative is a multi-agency effort aligning and targeting federal economic and workforce development resources to communities and workers that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. The POWER Initiative is part of President Obama’s POWER+ Plan, a broader set of investments in coal-impacted communities, workers, and coal technology that is in the president’s FY 2017 budget.

Additional information about the POWER Initiative, including application materials, is available at or Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Awards will be announced later this year.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 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.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The Economic Development Administration marks 50 years of public service, leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.