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More than $6.6 million in Virginia POWER grants

Staff Writer |
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced more than $6.6 million in grant funding has been awarded, through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), to entities in the Appalachian Region of Virginia.

The region encompasses 25 counties and eight independent cities in Southwest Virginia. An additional $21.4 million in funding was awarded to projects that will benefit communities in other states.

The funding was awarded through the Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) grant program.

The POWER Initiative is a federal multi-agency effort aligning and targeting federal economic and workforce development resources to communities and workers affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production.

Grant announcements for Virginia include:

- A $3 million award to Friends of Southwest Virginia to fund the Building Appalachian Spring: Growing the Economy of Southwest Virginia project, enhancing the outdoor recreation industry as an economic driver in a four-county region in southwestern Virginia.

- A $2.2 million award to Wise County Industrial Development Authority’s Virginia Emerging Drone Industry Cluster Project, positioning five counties in Southwest Virginia as a national destination for the development of a drone-operator workforce to support the emerging drone industry in the United States.

- Approximately $1.4 million to Cedar Bluff-based Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) for the Southwest Virginia Regional Cybersecurity Initiative, an initiative that brings together three colleges in Southwest Virginia – SWCC, Mountain Empire Community College, and University of Virginia’s College at Wise – to position this seven county Southwest Virginia area as a regional hub for the cybersecurity industry.

In addition to the large project funding, Virginia is one of four states to receive a Technical Assistance POWER grant.

The more than $11,100 grant will provide grant writing assistance to raise funds for Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network, the creation of a regional brew cluster that will strengthen Virginia’s agriculture and tourism industry in the region.

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