The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Wednesday announced $3,910,184 in funding for communities in Southwest and Southside Virginia, including $1,494,000 for the New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Area Consortium Board in Radford to tackle the substance-use disorder problem and $32,940 for the New River Valley Regional Commission to develop a plan to boost tourism and job growth by cultivating the natural assets around the New River.
The NRV Regional Commission is an organization composed of 13 local governments and three higher education institutions for the purpose of encouraging collaboration to address regionally significant issues and opportunities. Encompassing the counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski and the City of Radford, the NRV Regional Commission convenes community leaders to build relationships and capacity across the region; provides technical assistance to members; serves as a liaison between local, state and federal governments; and implements services when requested by members.
The funding, awarded through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, will go towards addressing substance-use disorders, improving broadband connectivity, strengthening rural economies and improving local infrastructure.
ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. Its mission is to innovate, partner and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia and help the region achieve socio-economic parity with the nation.
ARC’s POWER Initiative targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been 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.
In a statement announcing the funding, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine said, “We are thrilled that these federal dollars will go help fund some of the top priorities for communities in Southwest and Southside Virginia. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, it’s essential that we keep bolstering rural economies, ensuring internet reliability, and supporting some of the most vulnerable Virginians.”
“POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches,” said ARC federal co-chairman Tim Thomas. “Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.”