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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce

POWER Initiative

Federal Agency Participation and FY 2016 Commitments

A number of federal agencies participate in and – contingent on availability -- allocate resources to the POWER Initiative, which may include providing technical assistance and education and outreach to POWER grantees, preference points for agency funding for applications from POWER grantees and other projects serving coal-impacted communities, and additional direct funding. The federal agencies, and their FY 2016 commitments, are:

USDA-Rural Business Cooperative Service (RBS):

  • The RBS will use its portfolio of economic development programs to support POWER grantees. USDA Rural Development State Directors and the RBS Administrator will assign priority through discretionary points for applications from POWER grantees and other coal-impacted communities for RBS loans or grants and will focus outreach to such communities. Additionally, State Directors will make POWER Initiative awardees outreach priorities for their Community Economic Development (CED) staff. Specifically, CED staff will connect POWER grantees with Rural Development set aside funding opportunities designed to promote regional economic development planning.
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  • In addition to its investment of $45 million in the POWER 2016 FFO (“POWER 2016”), ARC will help Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities transform their economic future through a variety of tools and resources including: making up to $1.2 million available in technical assistance to help communities develop partnerships, refine strategic investment plans, and craft compelling applications for POWER 2016; and offering additional capacity-building assistance to communities that need help identifying enduring economic development strategies. ARC will also work closely with Local Development Districts, community investors, and other public and private partners to leverage additional investments in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities.
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  • ETA awards POWER National Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs) to state workforce development agencies on behalf of eligible coal-impacted communities. ETA initially set aside up to $20 million over three years to fund POWER DWG projects; ETA has awarded four POWER DWGs totaling just under $8 million through March, 2015. The FY 2016 appropriation bill requires ETA to make an additional $19 million available during Program Year 2016 (between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017). ETA intends to use these additional funds to provide new grants, or increase the award amounts for existing POWER DWGs which were initially capped at $2 million. ETA, along with partners such as MEP, also intends to provide technical assistance to state and local workforce development agencies and partners, focusing primarily on use of existing resources, including state Rapid Response funds, to conduct layoff aversion activities to minimize the impacts of downturns in the coal industry on downstream industries and sectors.
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Land and Emergency Management:

  • EPA will initiate a Brownfield Area-Wide Planning (AWP) competition in 2016 (which will be funded in early 2017), that will specifically include areas impacted by closed or closing coal fired power plants or other facilities involved in the coal economy. Under AWP, EPA will support communities to develop comprehensive strategies and area-wide plans to assess and clean up brownfields sites related to the coal economy. Coal economy facilities will be considered as an “other factor” that the applicant can cite as part of the competitive process, giving the proposal priority consideration as projects are selected.
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Department of Energy (DOE):

  • DOE, through its Jobs Strategy Council – which focuses on supporting communities in their energy transformation and economic development opportunities -- will provide energy-related technical assistance resources to POWER grant recipients and applicants from DOE offices and National Labs, and access to investment in a range of energy technology and manufacturing projects through its Loan Program Office. Additional technical assistance programs include integrating combined heat and power in existing energy systems, designing energy efficiency strategies to create jobs and energy savings, deploying carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies for existing power plants, the reuse of energy and mining land sites, and expanding renewable energy deployment and jobs.
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Small Business Administration (SBA):

  • SBA, through its Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program, intends to provide up to three $100,000 Portable Assistance grants to SBDCs in coal-impacted communities to conduct additional, concerted technical assistance and counseling to existing and aspiring small businesses in these areas. Through its Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA), SBA intends to provide up to three $50,000 7(j) technical assistance grant awards to provide training and counseling to aspiring small business owners in Native American communities impacted by changes in the coal economy. Additionally, ONAA will provide education and training to tribal leaders in coal-impacted Native American communities through an executive education program developed in partnership with The New School. Through its Regional Innovation Cluster program, SBA intends to award preference points to applicants serving coal-impacted communities if the agency issues a new Regional Innovation Cluster solicitation.
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Department of Treasury, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund:

  • The CDFI Fund will (1) participate in meetings targeting CDFIs and Community Development Entities (CDEs) that currently invest, or are well positioned to invest, in coal-impacted communities with low or no CDFI/CDE investment; (2) provide training as requested on CDFI Fund programs to state/regional staff of participating federal agencies; and (3) include investment in POWER partnership communities as a targeted investment option in the 2016 New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) Program application.
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DOC, SelectUSA:

  • SelectUSA will (1) provide counseling to POWER grant recipients, as needed, on best practices related to foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction and export promotion; (2) support coal-impacted communities, as needed, through overseas investment missions and trade shows; and (3) at the request of a POWER grant recipient, advocate on behalf of the USG to help retain or attract firms engaged in global location competitions (in a geographically neutral manner with respect to locations within the U.S.).
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DOC, NIST-Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP):

  • The MEP Center network will provide technical assistance services to manufacturers in the coal power plant and coal mining supply chains that are located in POWER grantee communities. These services will address the needs of the impacted manufacturers and include strategies related to diversification, risk mitigation, market research, and entry into new and export markets. NIST MEP will promote POWER 2016 in coal-impacted regions so that the Centers in those regions might collaborate with applicants for POWER 2016 funds. NIST MEP will also encourage Centers to conduct enhanced outreach to manufacturers that supply to the coal economy as part of their market penetration; explore ways to capture impacts from MEP Center work with manufacturers that supply to the coal economy; and promote the POWER Initiative and the needs of the coal communities via various communication forums.
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Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS):

  • CNCS will encourage its AmeriCorps grantees to support POWER grant recipients and will connect coal-impacted communities with CNCS State Offices to assess capacity needs and potential collaboration on anti-poverty efforts with AmeriCorps VISTA. Additionally, CNCS is available to explore opportunities with prospective POWER 2016 applicants to consider the inclusion of AmeriCorps grantees and members in their applications.
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Department of Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE):

  • OSMRE will (1) work with its Abandoned Mine Land (AML) state and tribal programs and POWER grantees to facilitate the identification and leverage of linkages between AML coal mine reclamation projects and the planning and implementation of their economic development strategies; and (2) pursue these linkages comprehensively in the implementation of the AML pilot in KY, PA, and WV that will fund reclamation projects promoting sustainable redevelopment in economically distressed coal-impacted communities.
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