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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Establish Workforce Training Facility in Gray, Kentucky Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3 million grant to KCEOC Community Action Partnership, Inc., of Gray, Kentucky, to help develop a workforce training facility in Barbourville. The grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $2.3 million in other federal and state investment.

“Through the efforts of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, the National Council for the American Worker, and this investment in a Kentucky workforce training facility, the Trump Administration is creating new training opportunities for American workers, especially those impacted by the closures of coal-fired power plants,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This infrastructure investment will attract further investment to an Opportunity Zone.”

“EDA encourages investment in Opportunity Zones to not only enhance ROI for business interests, but also to encourage the public/private partnerships needed to drive private investment to distressed communities,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “A strengthened workforce focused on supporting the region’s critical manufacturing, health care, logistics, business technologies, agri-foods, and hospitality sectors can help attract Opportunity Zone investment and encourage other transformative private investment.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Cumberland Valley Area Development District (CVADD). EDA funds the CVADD to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

The funding announced today goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage.

This project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program, through which EDA awards funds on a competitive basis to assist communities 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.

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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