$2M in ARC POWER Grants for Local Food, Jobs Training

The new ARC POWER grants focus on economic growth in agriculture, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, technology and construction.

WASHINGTON, D.C., — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) recently announced nearly $2 million in additional awards to continue strengthening the economies of Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities through ARC’s POWER Initiative. The latest ARC POWER grants will help grow an emerging local agricultural network, develop an innovative suite of training programs to serve growing industries and provide technical assistance with strategic planning for an emerging social enterprise in Central Appalachia, according to the announcement.

ARC POWER grants are a congressionally-funded, multi-agency strategy that brings federal resources directly to communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal-related supply chain industries. The latest grants include:

  • $1,200,000 to the Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc., in Shepherdstown, W.Va., to continue local food systems development work across 58 counties in five Appalachian states through the Central Appalachian Network.
  • $596,250 to the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Cumberland, Ky., to develop an innovative series of training programs in hospitality, technology, construction and other emerging sectors.
  • $101,981 to the Southern Appalachian Labor School in Kincaid, W.Va., for technical assistance to establish a social enterprise focusing on construction and housing.

Appalachia lost a total of 33,500 coal-mining jobs between 2011 and 2016, representing 82 percent of America’s job losses in this sector. Over 67 percent of these jobs — more than 22,500 jobs — were in coalfield counties in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, according to ARC.

Along with the announcement, ARC said it’s invested a total of more than $94 million in 114 awards through the POWER Initiative to diversify the economies of 250 coal-impacted counties across 11 Appalachian states in the past year.

Those ARC POWER grants have leveraged more than $210 million in private investment to create or retain nearly 8,800 jobs and critical job training opportunities.

Read the original announcement on the ARC website.

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