The POWER Initiative (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization), led by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, is a coordinated effort among multiple federal agencies to provide coordinated investments in communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector.
These are not just communities with coal mines, but also communities with coal processing and shipping facilities.
For West Virginia, POWER represents a significant opportunity for collaboration amongst regions, sectors and organizations to secure federal funding support for integrated economic development plans and projects.
(“POWER+” is a proposed funding source that, if approved by Congress, would be made available to fund the planning and implementation of local and regional projects in 2016.)
WHO IS INVOLVED
The federal agencies that will be distributing federal funds in support of economic diversification in impacted communities are:
- Department of Labor (Employment and Training Administration) (DOL)
Each department has it’s own guidelines and processes for grant applications.
The deadline for receipt of applications for EDA and ARC funding is July 10, 2015, and applications for ETA funding will be accepted on a rolling basis. Proposals for SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters Program contract solicitation will be accepted on a rolling basis after June 1st, 2015.
The WV Community Development Hub and the Coalfield Development Corporation have taken the lead in convening those regional organizations interested in applying for POWER grants in order to encourage collaboration and coordination, and connecting these organizations with the federal agencies involved to share information.
HOW MUCH MONEY?
$713,000 available for planning, across 14 states
$2.9 million available for construction projects
$500k for POWER
$75k max per project, non-construction programs
$20 million available
Range from $500,000 to $2 million per project (Lead applicant must be state work force agency).
$2.5 million over next 5 years through Regional Innovation Clusters program
- Dept. of Energy (DOE) is not a funding source but has $40 million available for loans for planners
On June 23, 2015, The Hub and the Coalfield Development Corporation convened a meeting to explore economic diversification opportunities and help understand federal funding sources that could assist communities withrevitalization planning and project implementation.
That meeting included information and a question and answer session with White House officials, federal agencies and economic development interests across the state about federal funding opportunities through the POWER Initiative and the POWER+ Plan.
Here’s some key pieces of information that emerged from that meeting:
- The strongest plans will be broad partnerships and collaborations – including across state lines.
- If you are submitting an EDA proposal, you should be in contact with the EDA State Rep, Bob Gittler. His contact info is: email@example.com.
- EDA implementation proposals should be shovel-ready and show real job creation numbers.
- The SBA is looking for a Regional Cluster Initiative proposal (only funding 1 this year) that is not a repeat of what they’ve funded before – so no local food or tech proposals.
- There is limited money for EDA planning projects – only $713,000 for the region covering West Virginia. It will be highly competitive. The best chance we have of getting funding to our state is by working together to create comprehensive, collaborative partnership-based projects.
- This round of POWER Initiative grants will hopefully lead to POWER + funding opportunities in 2016. Much of the proposed funding for 2016 is just that – proposed, pending approval of Congress. Those of us in favor of this support for coal communities will need to advocate for it with our Congressional delegation.
- We recommend building relationships with these federal agencies because the POWER Initiative is just a small part of the funding that could be available for economic development and diversification.
- EDA is planning to return to W.V. in early August to provide technical assistance to organizations on EDA grant opportunities.
- Potential EDA grant applicants are encouraged to contact the appropriate regional planning and development councils, and, if applying for an implementation grant, to align it with their CEDS.
RESOURCES AND MEETING DOCUMENTS
Resources from the Sept. 23 EDA Grants workshop:
EDA Slides on Funding Priorities and FAQs
Resources from the June 23 Meeting:
Meeting Agenda and Participants
Powerpoint by Bryan Borlik, Dir. of Performance and National Programs, EDA
Information on DOE Jobs Strategy Council
Information on SBA’s Clusters Initiative
U.S. Economic Development Administration’s POWER Initiative website.
U.S. Small Business Administration Clusters Initiative website.
U.S. Small Business Administration Scale Up Initiative website.
LINKS TO WV ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN POWER MEETINGS
• Coalfield Development Corporation – www.coalfield-development.org
• Coalfields Expressway Authority – coalfieldsexpresswayauthority.com
• Hope Force – www.hopeforce.org
• Mingo County Redevelopment Authority – www.mcra-wv.org
• New River Gorge Redevelopment Authority – nrgrda.org
• W.V. TechConnect – techconnectwv.org
• Hatfield-McCoy Regional Trail Authority – www.trailsheaven.com
• Tamarack Arts Foundation – www.tamarackfoundation.org
• Unlimited Future, Inc. – unlimitedfuture.org
- Charleston Gazette Op-Ed 7/12/15: Waiting for the next boom not a wise plan.
- White House statement on Interior Funding appropriations bill (which excludes funding for part of the POWER+ plan)
- Charleston Gazette: Meeting highlights efforts to help coalfields
- Charleston Gazette/Coal Tattoo: A different kind of coalfield discussion