On Feb. 1, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative for fiscal year 2018.

According to a press release, POWER is a congressionally-funded initiative that 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. Priority areas for ARC investments through the initiative include developing a competitive workforce, enhancing access to and use of broadband services, fostering entrepreneurial activities, and developing industry clusters. ARC is making up to $20 million available through the RFP.

More information, including eligibility requirements, application deadlines and grant guidance, is available at

To support the 2018 POWER Initiative RFP, ARC is offering the following series of five free public workshops in the Appalachian region:

• Wednesday, Feb. 14, California, Pa.

• Tuesday, Feb. 20, Greenville, S.C.

• Wednesday, Feb. 28, Daniels, W.Va.

• Thursday, March 8, Hazard, Ky.

• Wednesday, March 14, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Registration is required to attend the workshops and is available at

ARC will also host a free webinar series about the initiative grant process, led by grant managers and subject experts. The webinars will be offered on the following dates and will be recorded and posted on ARC’s website for future viewing:

• Thursday, Feb. 8, 11 a.m. ET: An Overview of What’s New in the 2018 POWER RFP

• Thursday, Feb. 15, 11 a.m. ET: Good Grant Guidance for the 2018 POWER RFP

• Thursday, Feb. 22, 11 a.m. ET: Understanding Appalachia’s Coal Industry Ecosystem

• Thursday, March 1, 11 a.m. ET: Finding the Right Match to Meet the 2018 POWER RFP Match Requirements.

To date, ARC has awarded $94 million through the POWER Initiative to help coal-impacted communities in 250 Appalachian counties diversify and grow their economies. These investments are projected to create or retain almost 8,800 jobs, leverage an additional $210 million in investment, and prepare thousands of workers and students with globally competitive skills and opportunities in Appalachia.

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