Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the first round of grant recipients under the Obama Administration’s Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative. POWER is led by the EDA and aligns the resources of four federal agencies, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor, the Small Business Administration, and the Appalachian Regional Commission. In total, the Administration is announcing 36 POWER awards worth $14,546,457. The awards, which include both Planning and Implementation grants, will be given to partnerships in 12 states and tribal nations. The Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding nearly $10 million for 26 projects.
Over the past several years, the United States has come to rely less on coal as a primary source of power due to advancements in natural gas production, declining costs for renewable energy, and increases in energy efficiency. As a result, many communities that have traditionally depended on the coal industry as a source of growth now need assistance to diversify their economies and train workers for new jobs. The POWER Initiative awards funds that will be invested in local economic and workforce development initiatives to help build resilient regional economies amidst a changing power sector landscape.
“Through the creation of the POWER Initiative, the Obama Administration has committed to helping communities successfully adapt to our changing energy landscape,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The POWER grants announced today by EDA and its federal partners will help each community create new jobs, diversify its economic portfolio, and better compete in the 21st century.”
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams traveled to Kentucky and West Virginia to announce the award of EDA POWER grants to the Commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet for Finance and Administration and eight other KY based projects. He was joined by project awardees, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Congressman Hal Rogers, ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl, and DOL-ETA Deputy Assistant Byron Zuidema.
“The POWER Initiative is a demonstration of this Administration’s continued commitment to breaking down silos within the federal government, enabling federal dollars to have a greater impact,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary Williams. “EDA is proud to lead this initiative with our federal partners and look forward to seeing the results of these investments in coal communities across the nation.”
POWER Implementation grants fund existing economic development plans and strategies that address one or more of the following economic benefits: local/regional economic diversification, re-employment opportunities for dislocated coal industry employees, attracting new investment for job creation, and workforce development. EDA awarded nearly $8 million in POWER Implementation grants including:
*$100,000 EDA grant to Perry County Fiscal Court in Kentucky for the Southeastern Kentucky Economic HUB Opportunities Diversification Implementation Project.
*$1,200,000 EDA grant to West Case Substance Abuse Treatment in Kentucky for the WestCare Kentucky Economic Development Project at the Judy Patton Center.
*$200,000 EDA grant to Appalshop, Inc., in Kentucky for Mines to Minds: The Southeast Kentucky High Tech Workforce Certificate Project. ARC is also awarding $75,000 to this project.
*$300,000 EDA grant to the International Economic Development Council Inc., in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee for the IEDC Rural Development Institute for Coal Communities.
*$1,000,000 EDA grant to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Cabinet for Finance and Administration for Unleashing the POWER of the I-Way! Building an ecosystem for electronic commerce in Eastern Kentucky. ARC is also awarding $75,000 to this project, and ETA is awarding $2,000,000.
*$468,635 EDA grant to the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development for food chain supply development in Eastern Kentucky. ARC is also awarding $75,000 to this project.
*$35,000 EDA grant to the East Tennessee Development District for the Campbell County TN implementation plan to improve broadband access.
*$1,400,000 EDA grant to San Juan College in New Mexico for the Four Corners POWER Initiative.
*$200,000 EDA grant to the Chicago Transit Authority in Illinois for the Fisk Power Plant Redevelopment Plan.
*$1,257,800 EDA grant to the Region 10 League of Economics Assistance and Planning Inc., in Colorado for broadband infrastructure support.
*$826,400 EDA grant to the Town of Union, West Virginia for the UTC Water Project.
*$275,000 EDA grant to the Friends of Southwest Virginia for RESOURCE-FULL. ARC is also awarding $75,000 to this project.
*$600,000 EDA and ARC grant to the Coalfield Development Corporation for the Coalfield Development Corporation’s Regional Economic Diversification.
Planning grants may be used for developing targeted economic development strategies, feasibility studies, impact assessments, asset mapping, and other relevant strategic planning efforts. EDA awarded nearly $1.8 million in POWER Planning grants, including:
*$250,000 to Technology 2020 in Tennessee to expand and improve capacity to provide entrepreneurial support through its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth program.
*$80,000 to the Kentucky River Area Development District to fund a leakage analysis that will provide the necessary first look by the Area Development Districts into what businesses exist in the 26 county regions.
*$100,000 to Berea College in Kentucky to support the 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 the coal and power industries while developing a long-term economic diversification and growth plan that reduces the region’s reliance on coal.
*$274,500 to the Big Sandy Area Development District in Kentucky to conduct RLF marketing, cluster/sector strategies development, resource/network development, entrepreneurial service provider networking/coordination.
*$327,300 to the Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments Economic Development District to direct and coordinate a study in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado to assess current and future impacts of the coal industry in the San Juan Basin and the surrounding region to evaluate current and future assets and opportunities for and obstacles to regional economic diversification, and to produce a report summarizing recommendations for regional economic sustainability.
*$50,222 to the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission in Wisconsin to collect and analyze current information on project regional economic trends; review and analyze current economic development strategies for project region with local and regional stakeholders; develop an actionable strategic economic plan for Buffalo County; identify business formation and growth obstacles; identify specific activities for potential implementation and a tentative schedule for each; and complete a detailed analysis of the project region 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 West Virginia to evaluate the possible economic use of abandoned and reclaimed surface mine operations as well as an abandoned golf course and mountain terrain in an economically distressed and underserved area that has suffered disproportionate economic job losses.
*$40,000 to the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission in Pennsylvania to develop a strategic business development and attraction plan.
*$100,000 to the WV Hub for The Innovation Acceleration Strategy to develop community-specific plans for five communities in the southern part of the state for economic diversification that are focused on implementable economic activity.
*$124,000 to the Lewis County Economic Development in Washington for an economic diversification and revitalization plan to mitigate job losses from the closure of a coal-fired power plant.
*$147,900 to the Navajo Tribal Nation Government in Arizona 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.