Federal funding to support economic development in Appalachian Virginia


(PHOTO: Courtesy MGN)

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia is receiving more than $4.2 million in federal money to fund programs supporting economic development in the Appalachian region.

“Appalachian Virginia is a vital part of our Commonwealth that requires a focused, regional approach to support job creation and economic growth and diversification,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a release.

Funds are channeled from the Appalachian Regional Commission to the Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) program, which awards grants throughout the region.

The following is a list of the organizations and their programs that are recipients of the POWER grant:

  • Southwest Virginia Workforce Development – The organization received $1.5 million for the Recovery Opportunities and Pathways to Employment Success (ROPES) program. The program provides substance abuse disorder recovery and treatment with workforce development and re-employment.
  • BARC Electric Cooperative – They were granted $1 million to go toward their Broadband project, which entails deploying a gigabit last-mile fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) network to the town of Goshen in Rockbridge County. The deployment will help improve educational opportunities and reduce the number of families leaving the area, which has been negatively impacted by the reduction in coal rail shipping.
  • Southwest Virginia Community College – The $588,072 grant will help the college create the SWCC Automotive Excellence Center, which is a credit-based program that helps students prepare for entry-level automobile technician positions.
  • Lenowisco Planning District Commission – They received $50,000 for the Technology Innovation Ecosystem for Rural Water System project. The goal of the pilot program is to find ways to monitor rural public water systems for potential leaks and save counties money.
  • Appalachian Voices – The Taking a Proven Energy Model to Scale project will be the recipient of the $49,940 granted to the organization, which will provide technical assistance to the growing use of solar energy. It will provide support in the purchase and installation of commercial-scale solar projects.
  • Appalachian Community Capital – They are the recipient of more than $1 million to go toward their Opportunity Appalachia project which cultivates investment deals in the region. An estimated $7.5 million is estimated to be generated in new private investment, including new jobs, due to the project.

“From broadband expansion to entrepreneurial and workforce development, these grants will help us leverage every available resource as we work to strengthen the economy in areas that were once dependent on the coal industry and enhance the quality of life throughout the Appalachian region,” Northam said.

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