WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) on Wednesday announced $15.7 million in investments in 18 projects that will help grow the economies in coal-impacted communities in seven Appalachian states by creating or retaining more than 1,700 jobs, benefiting nearly 1,200 students and workers, and leveraging an additional $64 million into the Appalachian Region.
“Each one of these awards is a blueprint for new jobs, fresh opportunities, and a robust economic future for Appalachia,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl. “Together, these investments bring added capital into the Region and help Appalachia prepare to globally compete in manufacturing, technology, local agriculture, construction, and a variety of other industry sectors.”
Wednesday’s awards were made through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, a congressionally funded multi-agency strategy bringing federal resources directly to help communities and regions 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.
With today’s announcement, ARC has invested over $92 million specifically to diversify the economies in 250 coal-impacted counties across 11 Appalachian states in the past year. Together, these investments are projected to create or retain almost 8,600 jobs, benefit more than 25,400 workers and students, and leverage more than $206 million into the Region’s economy.
According to ARC research, 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—occurred in coalfield counties in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. ARC POWER investments directly benefit these counties by preparing workers, creating jobs, and attracting additional capital support for the Region’s emerging technology, manufacturing, agriculture, and entrepreneurial sectors.
More information about ARC’s work in diversifying the economies in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities, including a full list of POWER investments to date, is available at www.arc.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.