Gov. McAuliffe announces $6.6M POWER initiative grant to aid coal-impacted communities

BIG STONE GAP, VA (WJHL) – On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced a $6.6 million dollar POWER initiative grant at Mountain Empire Community College.
It’s part of President Obama’s continuing efforts to help those who live in coal country, like in southwest Virginia, who have been negatively impacted by the changes in the coal industry.

$3 million dollars was awarded to the Friends of Southwest Virginia in Abingdon for the “Building Appalachian Spring: Growing the Economy of southwest Virginia.”

The project will increase travel spending by $30-million dollars over the next 5 years.

ARC is also granting $2.2 million dollars to the industrial development authority in Wise for the “Virginia Emerging Drone Industry Cluster Project.”

This will allow Mountain Empire Community college to offer courses training students to operate drones. Governor Mcauliffe says this will create new 210 jobs in the long run.

The other grants include $1.4 million dollars to Southwest Virginia Regional Community College for the Southwest Virginia Regional Cybersecurity  initiative. Governor McAuliffe says this brings together SWCC, Mountain Empire Community college and UVA Wise in hopes of making the region the regional hub for the Cybersecurity industry.

“My whole initiative is cyber,” he said. “We can bring these businesses in. We’ve got to have a workforce for the companies to come. 17,000 open jobs. Either I fill those jobs or they’ll go to another state. They’ll stay here because of our education system.”

The final grant from ARC will go to the “Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network in Abingdon.
$11-thousand dollars will help find the creation of regional craft breweries.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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