Monday, May 11, 2015

Feds offer up to $35.5 million in grants to help coalfield communities hit by industry's swoon

"Several federal government agencies are teaming up to send $35.5 million to help communities and workers adapt to the decline in coal jobs," Jessica Lilly reports for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

The Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization  initiative is led by the Economic Development Admimistration, part of the Commerce Department. Other participants include the Labor Department, which has $20 million available; the Small Business Administration, up to $2.5 million; and the Appalachian Regional Commission, up to $500,000. The competitive grants will go to partnerships of regionally driven economic-development and workforce-development organizations in coalfields.

“Recent changes in the energy economy have had a profound impact on Appalachian families and communities that have been sustained by the coal industry for generations,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said as he announced the grant at the Shaping Our Appalachian Region Strategy Summit in Pikeville, Ky. “We have a moral imperative to work together to ensure we all succeed. That’s what the POWER initiative is all about – developing truly cohesive relationships at the federal, state and local level to create real economic opportunities for families throughout the region.”

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