Administration Announces New Workforce and Economic Revitalization Resources for Communities through POWER Initiative


WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 16, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — As part of President Obama’s effort to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector, today the Administration is announcing 36 awards totaling $14,546,457 for partnerships in 12 states and tribal nations that are seeking to build a more diversified and better economic future for their communities, businesses, and workers.

The Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative is an Administration effort, involving multiple federal agencies, with the goal of effectively aligning, leveraging and targeting a range of federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector.

The POWER Initiative is a down payment on President Obama’sPOWER+ Plan, part of his FY 2016 budget request to Congress.  The POWER+ Plan proposes a roughly $10 billion investment in coal communities, workers and technology. But given the immediacy of the economic need in coal country, the Administration stood up the economic and workforce developments components of POWER+ utilizing existing funds.

In the spring of 2015, four federal agencies announced coordinated funding solicitations for grant awards on two parallel tracks to partnerships anchored in communities impacted by the downturn in the coal economy.

The POWER Planning Grants solicitation was released in April by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to assist community-based partnerships develop comprehensive economic development strategic plans for their regions.

The POWER Implementation Grants Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) was released in May with available funding from EDA, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The FFO made funding available to partnerships in impacted communities to help them: (1) diversify their economies; (2) create jobs in new or existing industries; (3) attract new sources of job-creating investment; and (4) provide a range of workforce services and skills training for high-quality, in-demand jobs.

EDA Implementation Award Summaries

  • $1,000,000 EDA grant to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Cabinet for Finance and Administration in Frankfort, KY for theUnleashing the POWER of the I-Way! project.  ARC is also awarding $75,000 to this project, and ETA is awarding $2,000,000. The project will maximize the economic development opportunities that emerge from the build out of broadband infrastructure in Eastern Kentucky.  It will invest in local Internet access centers and will provide E-Commerce training and community fiber readiness consulting and support. E-Teams will work with industry partnerships, individual companies and entrepreneurs to improve their marketing, product development, production efficiency and process improvement.
  • $468,635 EDA grant to the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development in Elizabethtown, Kentucky for the Local Food Supply Chain Development in Eastern Kentucky project. ARC is also awarding $75,000 to this project. The project will comprehensively map the food supply chains currently in place in the region, the gaps in those chains, and what opportunities can result from filling in those gaps and creating new economic opportunities.
  • $1,200,000 EDA grant to West Case Substance Abuse Treatment in Ashcamp, Kentucky for the WestCare Kentucky Economic Development Project. This project includes the renovation of a former school to serve as a residential child care center and substance abuse treatment center for women. The Center will provide 25 new health care positions as well as ongoing workforce development services for clients from across the Central Appalachian region.
  • $200,000 EDA grant to Appalshop, Inc., in Whitesburg, Kentucky for Mines to Minds: The Southeast Kentucky High Tech Workforce Certificate Project. ARC is also awarding $75,000 to this project. The project will develop a one-year IT workforce certificate program targeted to communities affected by the reduction in coal employment.
  • $100,000 EDA grant to Perry County Fiscal Court in Hazard, Kentucky for the Southeastern Kentucky Economic HUB Opportunities Diversification Implementation Project. This project will fund a position that coordinates implementation of the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy across targeted industry clusters, while leveraging existing resources to invest in skills development and job placement for dislocated workers.
  • $35,000 EDA grant to the East Tennessee Development District in Alcoa, TN for the Campbell County TN Implementation Plan to Improve Broadband Access. This project will assess the cost and define the recommended project implementation areas for a strategy to improve broadband service in Campbell County.
  • $1,400,000 EDA grant to San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico for the Four Corners POWER Initiative. The project will provide re-employment services to workers impacted by the changing regional energy economy and implement innovative partnering strategies with employers in expanding IT, healthcare, and renewable energy sectors.
  • $200,000 EDA grant to the Chicago Transit Authority in Chicago, Illinois for the Fisk Power Plant Redevelopment Plan. This project will provide employment and training opportunities for bus diesel mechanics and technicians as part of CTA’s planned renovation of the retired Fisk power plant into a bus storage and service facility.
  • $1,257,800 EDA grant to the Region 10 League of Economics Assistance and Planning Inc., in Montrose, Colorado for theBroadband Infrastructure Support project. This project will provide internet service to communities in the region through the purchase of rights of use and installation of fiber infrastructure.
  • $275,000 EDA grant to the Friends of Southwest Virginia in Abingdon, VA for RESOURCE-FULL: A Consortium Approach to Workforce and Economic Development in Southwest Virginia. ARC is also awarding $75,000 to this project. The project will build on of the region’s on-going initiatives to develop its tourism and recreation clusters, while also providing training for entrepreneurship and emerging in-demand occupations.
  • $826,400 EDA grant to the Town of Union, West Virginia for theUTC Water Project. This project will extend public water services from the Town of Union to the UTC Aerospace Systems’ manufacturing plant in order to meet its water demand.
  • $600,000 EDA grant to the Coalfield Development Corporation in Wayne, West Virginia for the Coalfield Development Corporation’s Regional Economic Diversification Project. ARC is also awarding $75,000 to Williamson Health and Wellness Center as part of this project.  The project will support increased agricultural production on surface mined sites, and provide job training, mentorship, and business incubation services throughout the region in order to help build a local food economy and enhance the sustainability of economically disadvantaged farmers.
  • $300,000 EDA grant to the International Economic Development Council Inc., in Washington, DC.  The project will work in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee to implement IEDC’s Rural Development Institute for Coal Communities, which will provide customized trainings, webinars, mentoring, and research to improve local capacity to handle economic shocks and to collaborate on economic diversification and development.

EDA Planning Award Summaries

  • $80,000 to the Kentucky River Area Development District in Hazard, Kentucky to fund a first-ever inventory of existing businesses in the region.
  • $100,000 to Berea College in Berea, Kentucky to supplement Promise Zone efforts to develop a collective impact strategy to fully engage Opportunity Youth in the work of economic transition.
  • $160,000 to Hopkins County Fiscal Court in Kentucky to undertake a multi-phased integrated effort to clearly identify and assess the regional impact of changes in the coal and power industries while developing a long-term economic diversification and growth plan.
  • $274,500 to the Big Sandy Area Development District in Prestonsburg, Kentucky to market its revolving loan fund, develop its resource network, scope industry cluster/sector strategies, and provide entrepreneurial service provider networking and coordination.
  • $250,000 EDA grant to Technology 2020 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to expand and improve capacity to provide entrepreneurial support through its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth program.
  • $327,300 to the Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments Economic Development District in Gallup, New Mexico to direct and coordinate a study to assess current and future impacts of the coal industry in the San Juan Basin and the surrounding region spanning Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado; to evaluate current and future assets and opportunities for, and obstacles to, regional economic diversification; and to produce a report summarizing recommendations.
  • $50,222 to the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission in La Crosse, Wisconsin to collect and analyze current information on projected regional economic trends; review and analyze current economic development strategies for project region with local and regional stakeholders; identify business formation and growth obstacles; identify specific economic development activities for potential implementation; and complete a detailed analysis of the regional workforce.
  • $50,000 to Moffat County, Colorado to conduct a comprehensive economic assessment of the current commercial and economic needs and assets of Moffat County and the surrounding region.
  • $36,000 to the Southern Appalachia Labor School in Robson, West Virginia to evaluate the possible economic use of abandoned and reclaimed surface mine operations as well as other sites.
  • $40,000 to the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission in Altoona, Pennsylvania to develop a strategic business development and attraction plan.
  • $100,000 to the West Virginia Hub in Fairmont, West Virginia to develop community-specific economic diversification plans for five communities in the southern part of the state.
  • $124,000 to Lewis County Economic Development in Chehalis, Washington for an economic diversification and revitalization plan to mitigate job losses from the closure of a local coal-fired power plant.
  • $147,900 to the Navajo Tribal Nation Government to develop an economic recovery strategy to address negative impacts associated with job losses from closures of coal mines and future closure of a coal-fired power plant.

ARC Implementation Award Summaries

  • $75,000 ARC grant to the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development in Elizabethtown, KY for Local Food Supply Chain Development in Eastern Kentucky project. EDA is also awarding $468,635 to this project. Entrepreneurs using the Jackson County Regional Food Center in Tyner, Kentucky will receive technical assistance in areas such as business planning and marketing to help them reach targeted markets for their products.
  • $75,000 ARC grant to Saving Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) in Pikeville, KY for Unleashing the Power of the I-Way! EDA is awarding $1,000,000 and ETA is awarding $2,000,000 to the Commonwealth of Kentucky as part of this project. The Kentucky Institute for Economic Development will offer annual training in professional development and economic development best practices to professionals recruited by the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) and other partners.
  • $75,000 ARC grant to Appalshop, Inc., in Whitesburg, KY forMines to Minds: Southeast Kentucky High-Tech Workforce Training. EDA is also awarding $200,000 to this project. ARC funds will be used to purchase digital multi-media supplies and equipment and to fund the creation of a technology and digital workforce development training curriculum in collaboration with area educators and regional employers.
  • $68,700 ARC grant to Rural Action, Inc., in The Plains, OH forEmerging Social Enterprise Development. SBA is also awarding up to $2.5 million to the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth as part of this project. The project will expand social enterprise development in sustainable forestry and other emerging sectors by providing technical assistance and support to non-profits and private enterprises in idea generation, market assessment, and business modeling.
  • $75,000 to the Williamson Health and Wellness Center in Williamson, West Virginia for the Health Innovation and Food Hub. EDA is also awarding $600,000 to the Coalfield Development Corporation as part of this project.  The ARC award will support consulting fees and startup equipment necessary to launch the Health Innovation and Food Hub, which will play a key role in facilitating regional collaborative networks, providing technical assistance and training opportunities, facilitating access to capital, and linking the local food systems infrastructure to supply markets.
  • $75,000 ARC grant to Friends of Southwest Virginia in Abingdon, Virginia for RESOURCE-FULL: A Consortium Approach to Workforce and Economic Development in Southwest Virginia. EDA is also awarding $275,000 to this project. The ARC award will be used to brand the southwest Virginia region as an international outdoor recreation destination and will include the development of tools and materials to be used for business and employee recruitment.

ETA Implementation Award Summaries

  • $2,000,000 ETA grant to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services in Columbus, Ohio. This project will provide training, work-based learning, and supportive services to dislocated coal miners and other dislocated workers impacted by mass layoffs in the coal industry, for re-employment in the growing oil and gas industry in Ohio.
  • $2,000,000 ETA grant to the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet in Frankfort, Kentucky. EDA is also awarding $1,000,000 to this project, and ARC is awarding $75,000. The project will provide training, work-based learning, and supportive services to dislocated coal miners and other dislocated workers impacted by mass layoffs in the coal industry, to retrain for high-demand, high wage positions in broadband service, fiber installation and IT.

SBA Implementation Award Summary

  • $500,000 SBA contract award (with a total potential value of $2.5 million over five years) to the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG) in Nelsonville, Ohio for the Appalachian Ohio Wood Products Industry Cluster. ARC is also awarding $68,700 to Rural Action as part of this project.  The project will bolster the area’s existing wood products industry cluster by providing targeted technical assistance to small businesses in the cluster on a host of topics, ranging from lean manufacturing to capital investment.  The projects will also help businesses become export-ready or increase their existing exporting operations, and will provide ongoing strategic assistance and research in support exploring new markets, technologies and opportunities.  The cluster will also help enhance connectivity between cluster participants by further building out and maintaining a supply chain database for the cluster.
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