WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine praised grant funding for communities in Southwest Virginia through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)’s Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) program, totaling $3,417,315.
“We are thrilled to support this economic investment in Southwest Virginia. This funding aims to support projects that will spur economic opportunity and create jobs across the region,” the Senators said.
The funding will be awarded as follows:
- Virginia Community Capital in Christiansburg, VA will receive $2,500,000 to strengthen Central Appalachia’s economy and accelerate market development through Impact Appalachia: A Market-Making Fund for Central Appalachia. The funding will be used to support business development and advance emerging sectors in Central Appalachia, including communities in Virginia. Impact Appalachia will launch an investment fund to raise and deploy capital to expand infrastructure and invest in job-creating businesses that build local wealth and increase quality jobs.
- LENOWISCO Planning District Commission in Duffield, VA will receive $917,315 for Project Intersection, a new 200-acre industrial site in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. LENOWISCO will partner with Norton Industrial Development Authority and Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority to develop the site into a regional industrial and business hub. The goal is to foster diversification and rejuvenation of the regional economy and lure private investment as well as new employment opportunities. Estimates suggest that the initial phase of development will create 75 jobs and an initial private capital investment of $10 million. Project Intersection is situated at the junction of U.S. Highways 23 and 58A, with the highest cumulative non-Interstate traffic volume in far Southwest Virginia.
Since its inception in 1965, ARC has generated more than 300,000 jobs and $10 billion for the 25 million Americans living in Appalachia. ARC has provided funding and support for job-creating community projects across the 13 Appalachian states, producing an average of $204 million in annual earnings for a region often challenged by economic under development. President Trump’s 2018 budget proposed eliminating the program entirely. Warner and Kaine have continued to be advocates for a fully funded ARC so that it can continue to increase employment and economic opportunities for those living in Appalachia. As Governor, Warner helped establish Virginia Community Capital (VCC) as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with an initial $15 million investment, with the goal of leveraging that initial investment for an economic return to underserved areas.
The ARC’s POWER Initiative provides grants to communities that have been affected by severe job losses in the coal industry and the changing dynamics of America’s energy production. These grants facilitate the growth of new industries in Appalachia and support job training and educational programs that help grow and diversify the region’s economy.