December 16, 2021

Manchin Announces $1 Million From American Rescue Plan To Support West Virginia's COVID-19 Recovery, Boost Economy

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced two awards totaling $1,000,000 from the American Rescue Plan. This funding is allocated through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the West Virginia Department of Economic Development and Coalfield Development to help West Virginia recover from COVID-19, create jobs and boost the economy.

“West Virginia coal communities built our great nation. Now, they are being heavily impacted by the changing energy economy, which is why I continue to fight for dedicated funding to support our coal communities,” said Senator Manchin. “I am pleased West Virginia Department of Economic Development and Coalfield Development were chosen as finalists in Phase 1 of the EDA regional challenge and will each receive $500,000 to support the development of their projects. I look forward to seeing the positive impacts these projects will have if chosen in Phase 2, and will continue to work with EDA to bring new opportunities to West Virginia.”

The West Virginia Department of Economic Development and Coalfield Development were chosen as finalists in EDA’s regional challenge from over 500 applicants across the country and will each receive $500,000 to further develop their proposed projects. Each organization is eligible to receive up to $100 million to implement 3-8 projects to strengthen West Virginia’s economy.

"As we have said, time and time again, West Virginia is facing the opportunity of a generation," said Mitch Carmichael, Secretary of West Virginia Department of Economic Development. "We will continue to pursue all available opportunities to invest, build infrastructure, support innovation and foster entrepreneurship that enhances our economic development efforts for all of West Virginia."

“This is an opportunity to change the economic history of West Virginia. I don't think that's an over-statement. We are proud to lead a coalition of some of this state's most innovative change-makers towards the goal of building a new Appalachian economy that's more fair, more just and more sustainable than ever before. This coalition includes some of the state's leading non-profit groups, our two largest universities, and our two largest municipalities. It also includes more than 20 employers. We're all aligned around a vision for creating opportunity for all West Virginians to prosper in this rapidly changing world economy. We know not enough of our neighbors have prospered in recent years, and we're determined to change that. Senator Manchin and his team have been a tireless advocate for good jobs in our state generally and for our ACT Now project specifically. We thank him in the most sincere way possible. And we re-commit to follow his lead in improving our economy for the good of generations to come,” said Brandon Dennison, CEO of Coalfield Development.

In July, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a series of programs, collectively called “Investing in America’s Communities,” to invest the $3 billion EDA received from the American Rescue Plan, representing the largest economic development initiative in decades. This includes the $1 billion EDA Regional Challenge, which is designed to assist communities nationwide in economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and build local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. These regions will have the opportunity to grow new regional industry clusters or scale existing industries through planning, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship, workforce development, access to capital and more. Additionally, EDA also set aside an additional $300 million through the Coal Communities Commitment, including $100 million in the EDA Regional Challenge, to support coal communities recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic while helping create new jobs and opportunities. West Virginia is the largest recipient of the EDA Assistance to Coal Communities program since the program began in 2015.

Individual awards listed below:

  • $500,000 –West Virginia Department of Economic Development, Revitalizing Economic Security for Communities Utilizing Innovative Next Generation Industries (RESCUING Industries)
    This project proposes to create a defense and national security industry cluster in West Virginia's southern and central energy communities, capitalizing on the skills of many of the region's Veterans to support the sector. If provided an implementation grant, the coalition proposes to execute seven projects: high-value products from carbon, energy materials, recapture and recycle of energy material, creation of a national security/military activity center, data analytics tailored toward U.S. Government use, site readiness and certification, workforce development, innovation and entrepreneurial support.
  • $500,000 – Coalfield Development, Appalachian Climate Technologies (ACT Now) Initiative
    This project seeks to spur job growth in the 25 economically distressed and coal-impacted counties in southern West Virginia. If provided an implementation grant, the coalition aims to support the transition from coal to solar power; implementing sustainable reuse projects on abandoned mine sites; investing in innovation zones and centers to create a skilled workforce and provide the infrastructure for manufacturing; creating a climate task force; and developing entrepreneurial programs to support employment in the field of environmentalism.