Obama Administration Invests $38.8 Million to Strengthen Economy in Nation’s Coal-Impacted Communities

August 2016

29 Projects Will Stimulate Economic Development in Nation’s Coal-Impacted Communities

Wendy Wasserman, Appalachian Regional Commission, wwasserman@arc.gov; 202.884.7771

CJ Epps, U.S. Economic Development Administration, cepps@eda.gov, 202.482.0655

HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA, August 24, 2016—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration today announced a $38.8 million investment to grow the economy in the nation’s coal–impacted communities. These 29 awards were made as a part of the Obama administration’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative to stimulate economic growth and opportunity in communities that have historically relied on the coal economy for economic stability. With this announcement, communities and regions that have been negatively affected by changes in the coal economy are able to strengthen their economies and workforces.

“The projects and awards we are here to celebrate today help communities persevere and flourish as they deal with the challenges presented by the coal economy,” said Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “POWER invests in jobs and workers, and develops and implements strategies and projects that can help transform these respective regions, states, and our nation.”

With these investments, more than 3,400 jobs are anticipated to be created and/or retained in agriculture, technology, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and other diverse sectors in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities. These awards have also attracted an additional $66.9 million in leveraged investments from other public and private partners.

"Appalachian communities are actively engaged in creating diverse local economies that are resilient, sustainable, and strong." said ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl. "Local leaders and entrepreneurs will use these investments to develop, direct, and implement economic diversification initiatives which will have long-lasting impact."

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin joined Gohl and Williams at the Wild Ramp in Huntington, West Virginia, for today’s announcement. The Wild Ramp is a local food retailer and a partner in the Central Appalachian Food Enterprise Corridor, which received a $1.5 million grant through today’s announcement. The Central Appalachian Food Enterprise Corridor anticipates creating/retaining 370 jobs, creating or improving more than 250 local businesses, and attracting at least $2 million in additional partner investments to strengthen local food production, processing, and distribution in five Appalachian states over the next five years.

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 proposed in the president’s FY 2017 budget. Today’s awards were granted from the $65.8 million in POWER funding announced by ARC and EDA in March 2016.

A summary of today’s announced awards is available through the ARC Web site at www.arc.gov.

Additional information about the POWER Initiative is available at www.arc.gov/power or www.eda.gov/power.

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 mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead 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. To learn more about EDA, visit www.eda.gov.