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Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative



Letter of Intent (Required): Mar 5, 2021
Application Deadline: Apr 16, 2021

Sponsoring Organization

Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)


Provides funds for economic revitalization projects in communities impacted by job losses in the coal industry in the Appalachian region. Prioritizes strengthening the response to substance use by creating recovery ecosystems to support individuals through the process of recovery and workforce reentry, including job-training focused on individuals in recovery. Emphasizes programs that support the post-treatment to employment continuum. Encourages implementation or expansion of programs to eliminate or reduce harm to the workforce and the economy resulting from substance abuse, and initiatives to attract and retain relevant healthcare services, infrastructure, and workforce.

Applications must address one or more of ARC's strategic investment goals:

  • Economic Opportunities: Invest in entrepreneurial and business development strategies that strengthen Appalachia's economy
  • Ready Workforce: Improve the education, knowledge, skills, and health of residents to work and succeed in Appalachia
  • Critical Infrastructure: Invest in critical infrastructure, especially broadband, water/wastewater systems, and transportation, including the Appalachian Development Highway System
  • Natural and Cultural Assets: Leverage the region's natural and cultural heritage assets to strengthen Appalachia's economic and community development
  • Leadership and Community Capacity: Build the capacity and skills of current and next-generation leaders and organizations to innovate, collaborate, and advance community and economic development

Applications must focus on at least one of the following priority areas:

  • Building a Competitive Workforce
  • Fostering Entrepreneurial Activities
  • Developing Industry Clusters in Communities
  • Strengthening Substance Abuse Response
  • Broadband

POWER planning grants are available to assist communities and regions in developing plans, strategies, and feasibility studies, with the goal of growing and diversifying local economies. Applicants for POWER planning grants are encouraged to apply for a future POWER implementation grant to implement plans and strategies developed through the planning grant. However, implementation funding is not guaranteed, and recipients of planning funds should identify other potential sources of funding to implement their projects.

More information regarding ARC funding goals and priorities can be found in Investing in Appalachia's Future: Appalachian Regional Commission's Five-Year Strategic Plan for Capitalizing on Appalachia's Opportunities 2016-2020.

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling:

  • $1,500,000 for implementation grants
  • $50,000 for planning grants

Project period:

  • Up to 3 years for implementation grants
  • Up to 12 months for planning grants

Up to one third of the total program funding will be available to fund broadband deployment projects.

Applicants must provide matching funds from non-federal, other federal, or a combination of sources for the project. ARC maximum contributions are determined by ARC's classification of the county or counties served by the proposed project. Applicants may request up to 80% of the total project costs when the county served is designated as economically distressed based on ARC's fiscal year (FY) 2021 County Economic Status in Appalachia classifications.

Who Can Apply

Eligible applicants include:

  • Local development districts
  • Indian tribes or a consortium of Indian tribes
  • States, counties, cities, or other political subdivisions of a state, including a special purpose unit of a state of local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
  • Institutions of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education
  • Public or private nonprofit organizations or associations

Applicants may utilize a fiscal sponsor/agent to apply for an implementation award on behalf of the implementing organization.

Applicants must serve and benefit one or more of the counties in the Appalachian Region as defined by the Appalachian Regional Development Act (ARDA) of 1965, as amended.

Proposed POWER projects must be located within and targeted to communities or regions that have been recently impacted, or can reasonably demonstrate that they will be impacted in the near future, by employment loss in coal mining, coal-power plants, or related supply-chain industries.

ARC will give special consideration to projects that describe, if applicable, how leveraging Qualified Opportunity Zones are central to the outlined work plan. Applicants can use HUD's Map of Opportunity Zones tool to find a Qualified Opportunity Zone.

Current POWER grantees are eligible to apply for POWER FY 2021 funds only if they are due to close out their implementation projects by October 1, 2021.

Current recipients of a Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities (WORC) or Investments Supporting Partnerships in Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) grant are eligible for POWER FY 2021 funding only if the scope of work for their FY 2021 POWER proposal is new and does not overlap with an open WORC or INSPIRE grant.

Geographic Coverage

Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

What This Program Funds

Capacity Building • New Program • Operating Costs and Staffing • Starting a Business

Application Process

Applicants must email a letter of intent (LOI) using the PDF template to by March 5, 2021. After submitting the LOI, applicants will be directed to submit a full application, with a deadline of April 16, 2021.

Applications must be submitted online through the ARC application portal.

Application instructions, requirements, and other information about the application process are available in the program guidance.

Only local development districts may submit more than one application in an application period and serve as the lead applicant on more than one POWER project at a time.

Prior to submitting the final application, every applicant is required to contact the state program managers of the states impacted by the project proposal to ensure the proposal aligns with Appalachian economic development priorities for each state served by the project.

Understanding & Demonstrating Coal Impact on POWER Applications presentation

2021 POWER Initiative application virtual workshop video series:


For questions about the POWER Initiative or use of agency funds to support projects:
Contact the state program manager

Rural Awards

Past awards communities have received are described on the program website.

Rural communities who have received funding include:

  • Appalachian Artisan Center, Incorporated in Hindman, Kentucky received an ARC grant to increase job opportunities by establishing a manufacturing company that creates high quality instruments from Appalachian hardwoods.
  • Alfred State College (ASC) in Alfred, New York used ARC grant funds to help develop sustainable businesses by assisting public and private partners in manufacturing products using natural resources.
  • Mayland Community College in Spruce Pine, North Carolina used grant money to address opioid concerns, train entrepreneurs, and create and sustain a healthy workforce.
  • Vinton County Commissioners in McArthur, Ohio used grant funds to finance a study investigating the feasibility of expanding broadband in local counties.
  • The Volunteer Energy Cooperative in Decatur, Tennessee received an ARC grant to increase access to rural broadband and create more jobs and businesses through the development of an Internet of Things innovation ecosystem.
  • Bland County, Virginia used grant money to build a 33-mile fiber run to deliver broadband to local businesses and institutions.
  • The Canaan Valley Institute in Davis, West Virginia received ARC grant funds to offer entrepreneur training to workers and veterans who are displaced or underemployed.

Topics This Program Addresses

Community Planning and Coalition Building • Economic Development • Education and Training • Employment • Harm Reduction • Healthcare Workforce • Infrastructure • Recovery • Substance Use Disorder • Teleservices and Technology • Transportation