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Director’s Update – May 6, 2022

Dear Energy Community Supporter,

From billions of dollars in available funding opportunities, to new resources to help demystify the grant process, I’m pleased to share with all of you this critical information to benefit energy communities and workers.

April 23, 2022 marked one year since Energy Communities IWG delivered its initial report to President Biden. To celebrate this important milestone, last week, April 25-29, was branded as “Energy Communities Week.”

This week was filled with social media content sharing success stories of federal funding distributed to energy communities, several new funding announcements from federal agencies, and part two of a webinar series hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN) and Energy Communities IWG about federal grant application and management. Read more about the U.S. Department of Labor’s new funding opportunity here and U.S. Economic Development Administration funding awards here.

Missed some content? Don’t worry. Check out Energy Communities IWG on social media for full coverage of announcements, webinar resources and success stories shared during Energy Communities Week.

Twitter: @EnergyComm_US
Facebook: @EnergyCommunitiesUS
LinkedIn: @EnergyCommunities
YouTube: Energy Communities

Success Story

Erwin, Tennessee is a small town nestled amongst several mountains and the Cherokee National Forest. After 300 residents lost their jobs due to a coal-industry-related closure of a rail yard in Erwin, the town and surrounding areas faced economic hardships. In addition, many people in the area also struggled to access the internet due to slow or lack of broadband services.

With support from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative grant, Erwin Utilities installed 35 miles of fiber optic cable to provide residents and businesses easy access to broadband service. A nearby hospital, built in 2017, also received access to Erwin Utilities’ fiber optic system, helping the hospital run more efficiently.

Read the full story here.

New Funding Opportunities

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Announces New Coal Communities Commitment Grant. EDA awarded the $1.5 million grant to Kingsport, Tennessee to upgrade its existing water pump station. This will help diversify the local economy and promote job growth. Read more
  • Round 4 of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) is Now Open. This initiative is designed to facilitate the alignment of workforce development efforts with existing economic development strategies in rural communities hard hit by economic transition. Learn more here
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Opens Application for Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Regional Centers. The purpose of this grant program is to develop and disseminate training and technical assistance on addressing opioid and other stimulant issues affecting rural communities. Read more here.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

Events & Additional Resources

  • Resources from USDA and Energy Communities IWG Two-Part Webinar Now Available. The webinar recordings, presentation slides and additional resources from the two-part webinar series on understanding the federal funding grant application process and management are available on the Energy Communities website.
  • Technical Assistance Webinars from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The final NTIA webinar designed to help applicants understand the broadband programs available through the BIL and prepare them for submitting high-quality applications is taking place on May 11. Register here.
  • White House Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Rural Playbook. The White House released its Rural Playbook last month, offering information specifically to rural communities on the “what, where, and how” to apply for federal infrastructure funding. Check it out here.

On behalf of all IWG member agencies, thank you for your continued interest in programs that support people living and working in America’s energy communities. Please feel free to share this newsletter with others in your network who may benefit.

Best regards,

Brian J. Anderson, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization
Director, National Energy Technology Laboratory
U.S. Department of Energy

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