Agencies Join Forces on New Economic Development Programs

The Economic Development Admin. (Commerce Dept.), Employment and Training Admin. (DOL), Small Business Admin. and Appalachian Regional Commission release a solicitation to award $35.5 million through the new Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative. The new interagency effort to assist communities and workers negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector.

Booming natural gas production, declining costs for renewable energy, increases in energy efficiency, flattening electricity demand, and updated clean air standards are changing the way electricity is generated and used across the country. These industry shifts impact workers and communities who have relied on the coal economy as a source of good jobs and economic prosperity. POWER’s objectives are to align, leverage and target complementary federal economic and workforce development resources to assist communities and workers negatively impacted by changes in the coal economy.

“The POWER initiative aligns perfectly with EDA’s mission of helping distressed communities create conditions that enable economic growth,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Jay Williams. “EDA is looking forward to working with our federal partners in assisting coal communities diversify and strengthen their economies through the POWER program.”

Numerous funding sources available

The current solicitation is for POWER Implementation Grants (CFDA Number: 11.307) (Funding Opportunity Number: POWER2015). The funding breakdown is as follows:

  • $12.5 million from EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance Program (CFDA 11.307).
  • $20 million from ETA’s Nat’l Emergency Grant/Nat’l Dislocated Workers Grant Program (CFDA Number: 17.277).
  • $2.5 million from SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters Program (CFDA Number: 11.020).
  • $500,000 from ARC’s Appalachian Research Technical Assistance and Demonstration Projects (CFDA Number: 23.022).

Funding from these programs has been aligned to attract projects that take a comprehensive approach towards economic diversification and worker advancement in implementing their economic development strategic plans.

“Experience has shown that projects which integrate both economic development and workforce development solutions with broad community partnerships are more successful than when these solutions are pursued independently,” Williams said. “Therefore, this federal funding opportunity announces the intent to award grants competitively to partnerships of regionally-driven economic development and workforce development organizations anchored in impacted coal communities. These grants will enable grantees to build economic resilience, industry diversification, and promote new job creation opportunities.”

State, local and tribal governments, public and private colleges and universities and nonprofits can vie for awards up to $1 million each. Although resources from EDA, ETA, ARC, and SBA are made available through the solicitation, applicants need to apply separately for each funding source they are interested in pursuing.

Deadlines: The deadline for receipt of applications for EDA and ARC funding is July 10, while ETA proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applications for SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters Program contract solicitation will be accepted on a rolling basis after June 1.

Keep in Mind: This program is the first step in a larger White House initiative, POWER+ Plan. The proposed program would continue aiding impacted communities in adapting to the changing energy landscape and building a better future.  The POWER+ Plan would invest in workers and jobs, address important legacy costs in coal country and drive development of coal technology. The president has proposed $55 million for the plan in his FY 2016 budget.

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About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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