The Heart of Appalachia Economic Transition Project receives $1.3M ARC Grant for Jobs

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced $26 million to expand and diversify the economy in coal-impacted communities in 5 Appalachian states. These 31 awards are projected to train more than 7,300 workers and students impacted by the changing coal economy in certificate, credentialing, and other workforce development programs. They will also create or retain more than 2,500 jobs, leverage an additional $31 million from public and private investors, and create a more vibrant economic future for Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities.

“These investments capitalize on the growing momentum for a diverse economy in Appalachia,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl. “They are strategic, collaborative, and impactful projects making the Region more competitive in technology, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, broadband, health, and a variety of other sectors.”

Today’s announcement builds on the $47 million ARC has invested since 2015 specifically to diversify the economy in the Region’s coal-impacted communities through the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative. The POWER Initiative is 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 economic of America’s energy production. With today’s announcement, ARC’s dedicated funding for economic diversity in the Region’s coal-impacted communities is projected to create or retain more than 6,500 jobs and leverage an additional $132 million into the Region.

$1,307,650 ARC grant to the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing, Inc., in Abingdon, VA, for The Heart of Appalachia Economic Transition Project. The project will align the grantee—a non-profit industry association of manufacturers from southwest Virginia—local workforce development boards, and the Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center to deliver business technical assistance to coal supply chain manufacturers in an effort to return them to profitability.

The project will conduct outreach to prospective companies in the 16-county southwest Virginia service territory, and perform network analysis that will allow for participating companies to retool their manufacturing efforts in the most feasible, cost-effective manner possible. In addition, the project will increase the number of young adults pursuing careers in manufacturing by redefining the image and value of manufacturing among young people, their parents, their educators, and policy makers. The award will create 300 jobs and retain 200 existing jobs, and will positively impact the operations of 58 existing businesses.

A summary of today’s announced awards, as well as more information about ARC’s work in diversifying the economy in the Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities, is available at

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.


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