Largest POWER Funding Package To Date; Recipients Include Garrett County’s Broadband Customer Connect Program
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) today announced awards of more than $47 million to 54 projects through the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which directs federal resources to economic diversification projects in Appalachian communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. This is the largest POWER awards package to date since the initiative launched in 2015.
Governor Hogan is hosting this year’s annual ARC conference at Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Cumberland—the first edition of the conference held in Maryland in 30 years. Updates on the conference are available here
“By investing in communities, and particularly in workers, affected by job losses in the coal industry, the POWER Initiative is a great catalyst for economic development, and an important tool to help revitalize our rural communities,” said Governor Hogan. “With this year’s recipients, the initiative has now made nearly 450 total investments, touching more than 85 percent of all of the counties in Appalachia.”
ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin made the award announcement with ARC 2022 States’ Co-Chair Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, congressional representatives and grantees during a press conference at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland, in advance of ARC’s 2022 Annual Conference.
“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. “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’s $47 million investment announced today will support agriculture and food economies, workforce development, tourism, entrepreneurship, and more to help create jobs in new or existing industries, expand skills training, and attract new private investments in Appalachian communities affected by the downturn of the coal industry. To help further close the digital divide, among this year’s POWER grant recipients is Garrett County’s Broadband Customer Connect Program, which will support the installation of 7,500 feet of broadband and expand fiber broadband services to more homes. The full list of recipients is available here
Including today’s award package, ARC has invested nearly $366.6 million in 447 projects impacting 360 coal-impacted counties since POWER was established in 2015. A new evaluation conducted by Chamberlain/Dunn indicates that a majority of POWER projects met or exceeded output and outcome targets, with ARC’s investments projected to have helped create or retain more than 39,600 jobs and over 100,000 workers and students for new opportunities in entrepreneurship, broadband, tourism, and other growing industries.
ARC plans to release another request for proposals for the POWER Initiative in early 2023. To learn more about today’s awardees and their work to boost industries that create a stronger economic future for Appalachia, visit www.arc.gov/POWER