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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $30 Million to Assist America’s Coal Communities

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $30 million to support 35 projects in 16 states under the 2017 Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC 2017) initiative. The funding will assist locally-driven efforts to communities and regions severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development and re-employment opportunities.

"From his first days in office, President Trump ended the Federal government's assault on the coal industry and the communities who rely on it," said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. "The previous administration fought this war through unilateral executive actions and regulatory edicts, and the casualties were American workers and families."

The President's work has had tangible effects for millions of Americans; for the first time in six years a new coal mine opened in the United States in June while thousands of jobs have been added in the coal sector since the start of 2017. The funding announced today is one facet of a continuing, government-wide effort to deliver a better deal for coal country.

The investments announced today include:


  • $397,665 to Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, to renovate their Cancer Cause and Prevention facility, and strengthen the medical and bio-tech cluster in the region to help diversify the local economy. 


  • $154,016 to The Navajo Nation, Window Rock, to support the preparation of a commercial plan to mitigate the adverse effects of the closure of a coal-fired power plant in Page.
  • $128,805 to the Hopi Tribe Economic Development Corporation, Kykotsmovi Village, to support the development of a business incubator program to mitigate the adverse effects of the pending closure of a coal mine in Kayenta.
  • $104,265 to Navajo County, Holbrook, to support the preparation of an economic assessment and recovery strategy for a region impacted by the imminent closure of a coal mine in Holbrook.
  • $137,000 to The Hopi Tribe, Kykotsmovi Village, to support the preparation of an economic diversification analytical study to assess economic opportunities in industry not dependent upon coal mining.
  • $99,999 to Arizona State University, Tempe, to support the preparation of a plan to transition from energy production based upon coal to renewable energy in Page.


  • $760,025 to the Telluride Foundation, Telluride, to support business growth by providing broadband connectivity to the communities of Nucla, Naturita, Redvale, Norwood, Ilium, Telluride, Mountain Village and Ophir.
  • $680,000 to the Technical College of the Rockies, Delta, to support the start-up operations of the ENGAGE Project, which will be operated under the umbrella of Delta Montrose Technical College. The ENGAGE Project will provide the necessary entrepreneurial support to help launch new value-added food, ag-related and other businesses in Delta County.


  • $1.116 million to the Eatonton-Putnam Water & Sewer Authority, Eatonton, to make sewer improvements at the Westside Wastewater Treatment Facility to serve the Eatonton-Putnam County South Industrial Park, supporting the expansion of a manufactured housing business and future development in the park.


  • $2 million to Perry County Port Authority, Tell City, to make port and rail improvements that will assist in the diversification and strengthening of manufacturing employment in the region. 
  • $787,500 to Pike County Progress Partners, Inc., Petersburg, to help build an Entrepreneurship and Technology Center, including a regional maker space, co-working space and training facility to meet the advanced manufacturing needs of the area.


  • $3 million to the Rochester Dam Regional Water Commission, Bowling Green, to renovate the Rochester Dam located on the Green River. The project will retain one of the largest non-coal employers in this area of Kentucky and assist in the retention of other businesses and commercial establishments that rely on three public utilities and the reservoir for their source of water. According to grantee estimates, the project will retain 1,370 jobs and generate $54 million in private investment.
  • $2.4 million to Pikeville Medical Center, Inc., Pikeville, to purchase medical equipment supporting The Heart Institute as part of the renovation of the existing Pikeville Medical Center hospital facilities. This project will assist multiple communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through job creation, capital investment and re-employment opportunities. The hospital anticipates the hiring of a minimum of 250-300 additional positions over a five-year period.
  • $1.068 million to Hopkins County, Madisonville (2 projects), to help displaced coal workers and their spouses in Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties pursue entrepreneurial opportunities by creating an entrepreneurial environment that will provide assistance tailored to small business development. $839,966 will be used to renovate a building located at 130 North Seminary Street in Madisonville to increase the availability of training spaces and  $227,927 will be dedicated to instituting programing that will encourage ideation and collaboration; provide support groups for entrepreneur training and encouragement; link entrepreneurs with mentors, coaches, and complementary talent and partners to help launch and scale businesses; provide participants with access to capital - both seed, follow-on and scaling funding; educate and inform others, and help to create prototypes for future entrepreneurs. The goal is to spur 50 new businesses in west central Kentucky. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create 125 new jobs within 24 months.


  • $550,000 to the Town of Somerset to develop an economic development diversification strategy for Somerset and the surrounding region to help offset jobs lost due to the closure of Brayton Point and to make infrastructure upgrades to Somerset's wastewater treatment facility.


  • $70,000 to Southeastern Montana Development Corporation, Colstrip, to implement the Colstrip Economic Diversification Strategy and support a locally-driven, regional planning process that includes a broad range of stakeholders and integration of the goals and objectives of the region's CEDS. It will address specific needs of the coal community including economic diversification and workforce development opportunities to foster job creation and private investment.

New York

  • $362,500 to Buffalo Erie County Industrial Land Development Corporation, Buffalo, to support the Bethlehem Steel Industrial Site Redevelopment Planning Project, which seeks to aid preparation of a 148-acre vacant brownfield site for private investment. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to help create 2,265 jobs and generate $340 million in private investment.


  • $1.5 million to Rogers County, Claremore, to make water infrastructure improvements at an industrial site to help the region diversify its economy. The project will help attract new businesses and is expected to help create 250 jobs and generate $360 million in private investment. 


  • $2 million to Youngstown State University, Youngstown, for renovation and construction activities needed to increase the University's capacity to provide advanced manufacturing training for displaced workers looking to enhance their skills so that they can be competitive in the new advanced manufacturing economy.
  • $70,211 to Ohio University, Athens, to fund the Social Return on Investment (SROI) Methodology Development and Feasibility Study for Rural Appalachia. The SROI methodology will be used as a tool for impact analysis in the context of increasing capacity to acquire capital resources for small and medium-sized social enterprises, and to inform regional planning for local economic resiliency and prosperity. 


  • $1.7 million to UMWA Career Centers, Inc., Prosperity, to support the renovation of the UMWA Career Centers training facility to provide advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity training and CDL training and to help build a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) training facility on a 64-acre site in Greene County.
  • $1 million to Gannon University, Erie, to provide assistance to entrepreneurs in Northwest Pennsylvania through Innovation Beehive nodes at Gannon University, Penn State-Behrend, Edinboro University and Mercyhurst University focused on business development, prototyping, marketing and market intelligence.
  • $510,000 to Catalyst Connection, Pittsburgh, to support the Maker-to-Manufacturing (M2M) project to integrate as well as expand entrepreneurial services and resources in the Southwest Pennsylvania region. According to grantee estimates, over 5 years, the project is expected to support 100+ start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses; result in as many as 50+ entities making product commercialization progress; leverage $10+ million in new investments in these commercialized innovations; and create or save as many as 350+ jobs.
  • $77,700 to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, to develop a coordinated strategy that will target six regions for deeper collaboration with the petrochemical and plastics industries, and their supply chains to facilitate investment and job creation.


  • $800,000 to FutureINDesign, Inc., Woods Cross, to support the startup costs and operations of The Innovation and Opportunity Center (Center), located in Price. FutureINDesign will oversee the operations of the facility and promote the Center to attract employers by offering ready-made solutions in office suites, complete workstations and warehousing.


  • $100,000 to Industrial Park at TransAlta, Chehalia, to support the analysis of land holdings to assess their compatibility with available economic opportunities and the interests of business firms that are candidates for location in Centralia.

West Virginia

  • $2.5 million to the Randolph County Development Authority, Elkins, to support the expansion of a publicly-owned manufacturing facility currently leased by the largest employer in Randolph County for use as a distribution facility. According to grantee estimates, the project will help retain 60 jobs, create 111 new jobs, and spur $16.9 million in private investment.
  • $1.478 million to the Flatwoods Canoe Run Public Service District, Sutton, to make water infrastructure improvements to serve the Weyerhaeuser manufacturing facility and other business needs. According to grantee estimates, the project will help to retain 164 jobs.
  • $1.392 million to the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority, Williamson, to provide water service to the new Twisted Gun Gap development and the Hatfield-McCoy trail system. According to grantee estimates, the project will help create 55 new jobs and generate $7.5 in private investment.
  • $767,442 to Pierpont Community and Technical College, Fairmont, to purchase training equipment and hire additional staff to double the current enrollment, graduation, and placement program of the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center. The project will directly support the Bombardier expansion project to create up to an additional 150 jobs in the next three years.
  • $750,000 to the Center for Applied Research and Technology, Bluefield, to foster new businesses, diversify production lines of existing business, create and retain jobs by providing high-tech industrial technical assistance to the new Bluefield Commercialization Station, an industrial incubator.
  • $747,123 to West Virginia University, Morgantown, to provide staffing and equipment over a three-year period that will enable the LaunchLab services to be offered in both the north central and southern West Virginia. LaunchLab is WVU's startup resource center that uses applied innovation creating new prototypes and products. 
  • $400,000 to the West Virginia Coalition for Technology Based Economic Development (TechConnectWV), South Charleston, to support the continued development of high-tech positions and companies, the development of a coordinated approach of services by the existing incubator/accelerator system, and the development of a larger regional private investment consortium.
  • $300,000 to the Business Development Council of the Northern Panhandle, Weirton, to develop a "Weirton Area Reuse Plan" (WARP) for repurposing, redeveloping, upgrading infrastructure, and attracting new investment to 1,300 acres of former steel facilities and underutilized industrial land.


  • $768,024 to KBJ Economic Development Joint Powers Board, Buffalo, to support the renovation of an existing building to create a new operational space for a custom computer programming services business that is expanding operations to Johnson County, Wyoming. Renovations include creating new office and classroom spaces, bringing the building up to code, addressing access requirements and improving public safety.

For additional information about ACC 2017, please visit the EDA's ACC 2017 webpage at:

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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