CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Appalachian Regional Commission is granting $47 million to 52 projects aimed at economic diversification in communities affected by job losses in the coal industry.
The funding, which comes from the commission’s POWER Initiative, will reach 181 counties. The funding is the largest to date since the initiative was launched in 2015, the commission said Monday in a statement. It is aimed at creating jobs, expanding skills training and attracting private investments to support industries such as agriculture, food and tourism.
“Our coal-impacted communities are a vital part of Appalachia’s 13 states and 423 counties — when our coal communities thrive, our entire region is uplifted,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin.
The POWER Initiative is funded by Congress and has invested $367 million in 447 projects throughout Appalachia, according to the commission. Hundreds of coal-fired power plants have shuttered over the last decade.