Federal funds to aid layoff-hit Appalachian coal communities

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Appalachian coal communities hit hard by layoffs will get $35 million in federal funding to help them diversify their economies, create new jobs and retrain workers.

The Appalachian Regional Commission, the White House and the U.S. Department of Commerce announced Thursday that it's part of a $65.8 million grant package through the Obama administration's Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization initiative, or POWER.

While grants will support economic development efforts among regional partnerships in coal communities nationwide, the Appalachian Regional Commission will receive $35 million to distribute for such projects.

The partnerships must develop projects to diversify economies, create jobs in new or existing industries, attract new job-creating investment and provide workforce services and skills training.

Several coal companies have filed for bankruptcy protection within the last year.