The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is investing $43.3 million across 51 projects into Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities via the POWER Initiative. According to the ARC website, the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative targets federal resources 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. The 51 projects are anticipated to create/retain over 3,300 jobs, attract over $110 million in leveraged private investment and be matched by $81.5 million in additional public and private funds across the region.
As part of this initiative, an ARC grant of $50,000 was awarded to the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority in Beckley, WV, for Aero-Ready in Southern WV. This project is intended to craft a strategic plan, including cost analysis, to create and implement a workforce training and education curriculum to support the aerospace industry in southern West Virginia. It will identify gaps in the existing aerospace programming currently serving West Virginia, work with the Federal Aviation Administration, and present an implementation plan for a workforce training and degree curriculum between New River Community and Technical College and WVU Tech.
ARC has invested over $238 million in 293 projects, touching 353 counties across Appalachia since 2015. The highest concentration of ARC’s POWER investments is in eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, and southwestern Pennsylvania. For more information about ARC’s POWER Initiative, please visit arc.gov/power.