Charleston, WV (WOAY) – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced seven project awards totaling $5,844,534 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) program.
The POWER Program is a congressionally funded initiative that 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.
“I have always said that West Virginians are the most hardworking people, they just need a chance to prove it. ARC has given our state that chance, with over $52 million in investments from the POWER grant program since 2015. These awards will support projects to expand broadband access, implement substance use disorder peer recovery programs, and support economic development across the state. This year’s POWER awards are yet another example of the strong partnership between West Virginia and ARC, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact of these projects for years to come,” said Senator Manchin.
“As we make unprecedented strides in connecting our state and diversifying our economy, continued support from ARC helps move our state forward even faster. These POWER awards are a positive step toward economic recovery in West Virginia. The people of our state are defined by their character, their dedication to hard work, and their ability to get the task done. I am thrilled to see so many different opportunities being provided to deserving people across the Mountain State and look forward to working with ARC to support more projects in the future,” said Senator Capito.
“POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.”
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) was established in 1965 and is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. The reach of the Appalachian Regional Commission across 13 States and 420 counties, West Virginia remains the only state fully within the jurisdiction of the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Since 2015, West Virginia has received nearly $96 million from ARC. This funding is largely broken down into two buckets: an annual allocation that goes to the state, which then determines awardees, and annual POWER grants (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization), discretionary grants that are awarded on competitive basis from ARC. Since the start of 2015, West Virginia has received $43.735 million in allocated funding. West Virginia has also been awarded more than $52.2 million in POWER Grants since the start of 2016, when the program began.
Individual awards listed below:
- $2,353,788 – Thundercloud for a 25-mile fiber loop that will connect Barboursville to downtown Huntington
- $1,499,894 – Region 4 Planning and Development Council for a recovery-to-work program focused on social entrepreneurship in the food sector
- $1,360,852 – Region II Planning and Development Council for a tri-state aviation maintenance technician program, working with Marshall and Mountwest Community College
- $480,000 – Southern Highlands Community Mental Health Center to implement a peer navigator/recovery coach model for working with persons with substance use disorder
- $50,000 – Appalachian Forest Heritage Area to develop a business plan for a volunteer trail maintenance center and program
- $50,000 – Wheeling National Heritage Area to conduct a feasibility study to transform four sites along Main Street into a “Heritage Gateway” for the downtown core
- $50,000 – New River Gorge Regional Development Authority for a strategic plan to support the aerospace industry