FROSTBURG, Md. (AP) — Dozens of projects in communities affected by coal-related job losses are receiving nearly $47 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The awards through the ARC’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Initiative go to 52 projects in 181 counties, the commission said. It is the largest single awards package from the initiative since it began in 2015, according to the ARC.
Among the largest awards was $2.4 million to expand broadband in Summers County, West Virginia. The project will connect 489 homes and 179 businesses to affordable broadband.
Another fiber optic project, in Carroll County, Ohio, was awarded $1.9 million to connect 11 communities to affordable broadband, serving 384 homes and 53 businesses.
Other states where projects received awards are Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia. The projects also support agriculture, workforce development, tourism and entrepreneurship.
The awards were announced this week in Frostburg, Maryland, ahead of the ARC’s annual conference.
“This latest round of POWER grant funding will not only help struggling coal communities to once again compete in a global marketplace, but also expand support for the creation of new jobs through growing Appalachia’s food economy,” ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin said in a news release.