|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Assistance To Coal Communities||1||$301,916|
|Economic Adjustment Assistance||2||$110,000|
|Regional Innovation Strategies||1||$500,000|
|Trade Adjustment Assistance||2||$2,066,072|
Centralia College is located in Lewis County, one of the most economically distressed counties in the State. Lewis County has historically relied heavily on the extractive industry economies of timber and coal. The Northwest Forest Timber Initiative severely limited timber harvesting in national forests in the 1990’s, resulting in the shutdown of numerous timber mills in the region. In 2008, Transalta Mining Company closed the local coal mine, resulting in the loss of over 700 high wage jobs. Transalta also decided to close their adjacent coal-fired power generating plant, the largest in the northwest, by 2020, ultimately cutting another 300 high-paying jobs. The region is in critical need of economic diversification and workforce training opportunities in order to create sustainable job growth in new industries.
In September 2016, EDA invested $301,916 in Assistance to Coal Communities funds to assist Centralia College in implementing their Robotics Workforce Training program. The funding will facilitate the acquisition of robotic equipment to train students in robotic technologies.
The acquisition of equipment will enable the college to train the regional workforce with new skills, which will in turn allow the region to develop new industries, provide new employment opportunities, and lead to the diversification of the regional economy in a sector that could transform the economy.