U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.6 Million to Establish the Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities Initiative
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.6 million grant to the National Association of Counties (NACo) to lead a coal-focused Community of Practice called the Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities Initiative. The establishment of this multi-organizational, self-governing, knowledge-sharing community will empower local government leaders, nonprofit organizations, and other community champions to develop new ideas, approaches, and fundable projects as coal communities transform their economies. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.
EDA has a history of supporting coal-impacted communities through regular annual programs and initiatives and continues to provide support through the $300 million Coal Communities Commitment under its American Rescue Plan appropriations. This initiative advances the work and impact of previous and future investments in our communities through a collective network that generates shared resources and provides technical assistance to enact place-based, locally driven development strategies.
By launching the Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities Initiative with EDA, NACo will create a national network to cultivate formal and informal interest, investments, and human capital across coal community stakeholders, provide specific technical assistance, and create a forum for stakeholders to exchange best practices and uplift economic impact to both current and potential grantees. NACo will leverage their own expertise in working with these communities while also partnering with other organizations and federal agencies, and build on the Biden-Harris Administration whole-of-government efforts to support and revitalize energy communities through the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalizations.
“President Biden is committed to supporting coal communities across the country as they recover and build back stronger from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment will provide the necessary infrastructure and support systems to connect coal stakeholders to amplify successful economic transitions through a variety of energy-related, broadband, workforce development, and planning initiatives.”
“The Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plants was created to support and optimize energy transitions across all federal agencies,” said Brian Anderson, Executive Director of the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization. “The Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities Initiative will provide vital support and connection points for the communities that have built America, and the Interagency Working Group is excited to participate.”
“Counties play a key role in fostering conditions for economic strength and positioning our economies for the future,” said Matthew Chase, Executive Director of NACo. “We are pleased to lead this initiative to help communities overcome coal-related economic challenges, and we thank the EDA for investing in our local economic resilience.”
This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Research and Networks Program. The Networks Program features industry-led communities of practice that facilitate peer exchange and technical assistance to a diverse set of grantees. EDA strives to leverage its work with these communities to inform the broader economic development community and accelerate economic recovery. The Coal Community of Practice is one of the first awards made in this program, which will be featured at www.eda.gov/communities. Effective May 26, 2022, EDA has officially closed all of its American Rescue Plan programs for applications. The $3 billion program funding will be awarded on a rolling basis through September 30, 2022.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
About NACo (www.naco.org)
The National Association of Counties (NACo) strengthens America’s counties, serving nearly 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million county employees. Founded in 1935, NACo unites county officials to: advocate county priorities in federal policymaking, promote exemplary county policies and practices, nurture leadership skills and expand knowledge networks, optimize county and taxpayer resources and cost savings, and enrich the public’s understanding of county government.