POWER, which stands for Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization, has earmarked funding varying in size between $60,000 and $7.5 million for each recipient. The initiative could save or create 3,418 jobs, according to the administration’s announcement.
The awards are administered by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA).
“[POWER has] the goal of effectively aligning, leveraging, and targeting a range of federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities and workers 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 sector,” the administration said.
While Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, Alabama and Pennsylvania will all receive funding, West Virginia will receive the most assistance with 13 individual grants.
The POWER Initiative is the primary economic and workforce component of President Obama’s broader POWER+ Plan, which is part of his budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2017. In all, the POWER+ Plan has proposed investments of more than $9 billion for “economic diversification” in coal communities as well as employment and training services for workers displaced from the coal economy.
It will also be allocated for the health and retirement security of coal miners and their families, the reclamation and redevelopment of abandoned mine lands, and the deployment of carbon capture and sequestration technology, the administration said.