BY: EDA Public Affairs Department
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $30 million to support 35 projects in 15 states under the 2017 Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC 2017) initiative. The funding will assist locally-driven efforts to communities and regions severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development and re-employment opportunities.
"From his first days in office, President Trump ended the Federal government's assault on the coal industry and the communities who rely on it," said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. "The previous administration fought this war through unilateral executive actions and regulatory edicts, and the casualties were American workers and families."
The President's work has had tangible effects for millions of Americans; for the first time in six years a new coal mine opened in the United States in June while thousands of jobs have been added in the coal sector since the start of 2017. The funding announced today is one facet of a continuing, government-wide effort to deliver a better deal for coal country.
Some of the investments announced today include:
• $2.5 million to the Randolph County Development Authority, Elkins, to support the expansion of a publicly-owned manufacturing facility currently leased by the largest employer in Randolph County for use as a distribution facility. According to grantee estimates, the project will help retain 60 jobs, create 111 new jobs, and spur $16.9 million in private investment.
• $1.478 million to the Flatwoods Canoe Run Public Service District, Sutton, to make water infrastructure improvements to serve the Weyerhaeuser manufacturing facility and other business needs. According to grantee estimates, the project will help to retain 164 jobs.
• $1.392 million to the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority, Williamson, to provide water service to the new Twisted Gun Gap development and the Hatfield-McCoy trail system. According to grantee estimates, the project will help create 55 new jobs and generate $7.5 in private investment.
• $767,442 to Pierpont Community and Technical College, Fairmont, to purchase training equipment and hire additional staff to double the current enrollment, graduation, and placement program of the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center. The project will directly support the Bombardier expansion project to create up to an additional 150 jobs in the next three years.
• $750,000 to the Center for Applied Research and Technology, Bluefield, to foster new businesses, diversify production lines of existing business, create and retain jobs by providing high-tech industrial technical assistance to the new Bluefield Commercialization Station, an industrial incubator.
• $747,123 to West Virginia University, Morgantown, to provide staffing and equipment over a three-year period that will enable the LaunchLab services to be offered in both the north central and southern West Virginia. LaunchLab is WVU's startup resource center that uses applied innovation creating new prototypes and products.
• $400,000 to the West Virginia Coalition for Technology Based Economic Development (TechConnectWV), South Charleston, to support the continued development of high-tech positions and companies, the development of a coordinated approach of services by the existing incubator/accelerator system, and the development of a larger regional private investment consortium.
• $300,000 to the Business Development Council of the Northern Panhandle, Weirton, to develop a "Weirton Area Reuse Plan" (WARP) for repurposing, redeveloping, upgrading infrastructure, and attracting new investment to 1,300 acres of former steel facilities and underutilized industrial land.
For additional information about ACC 2017, please visit the EDA's ACC 2017 webpage at: www.eda.gov/coal.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
Contact: EDA Public Affairs Department, (202) 482-4085