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Rural Blog: Appalachian Regional Commission grants $22.8 million to diversify coal country

The Appalachian Regional Commission has announced $22.8 million in grants meant to help the economies of 33 Appalachian communities in nine states hurt by the coal industry’s decline. The awards come from the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Initiative; here’s a list of the biggest awards:

Regional workforce council West Alabama Works in Tuscaloosa, Ala., will receive $1.45 million for the Power2 Expand Initiative. In partnership with the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, WAW will help coal-impacted residents in 10 counties with education, training and reemployment.

The Fletcher Group in Lexington will receive $1.67 million for the Recovery, Hope, Opportunity and Resiliency program to establish addiction recovery programs in Eastern Kentucky and help recovering addicts find employment.

The East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Inc., in Paintsville, will receive $1.5 million for the eKAMI Workforce Development Program, which will train adults to operate equipment in the machining industry and support training programs for young adults, high school students, and prisoners who want to go into machining as a career.

Fahe, Inc., in Berea, will receive $1 million for the Second Chance Employment project, which will help recovering drug addicts in Eastern Kentucky find jobs.

Clarion University in Clarion, Penn., will receive $1.1 million for the Northwest Pennsylvania Diversifying the Regional Economy project, which trains teens and adults to work in the petrochemical industry.

The Youngsville Television Corporation in Youngsville, Penn., will receive $1.01 million for the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Broadband Deployment Initiative, which will partner with volunteer fire departments to provide broadband services to unserved and under-served areas in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Duck River Electric Membership Corporation in Shelbyville, Tenn., will receive $2.14 million for the Angel Investing in Coal Communities program, which will provide funding for area businesses that benefit the region.

Appalachian Sustainable Development in Abingdon, Va., will receive $1.25 million to expand the impact and scale of the Seed-to-Sale: Strengthening the Central Appalachian Food Corridor project, which helps farmers in a four-state, 91-county area sell their produce on a larger scale.

The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition in Charleston, W.Va., will receive $1.02 million for the Geographic Food and Agriculture Systems Development project, which helps farmers, food businesses and community members boost agribusiness priorities.

Click here for a complete list of awards.

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The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.

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