EDA: $2.2 Million Invested to Boost Economic Diversification Efforts in Ohio’s 18-County Appalachian Region

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.2 million grant to Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, to provide technical assistance to accelerate the economic transition to new industries in 18 counties in Appalachian Ohio. The EDA grant will be matched with $550,000 in local funds.

“The Trump Administration is fulfilling the President’s promise to America’s coal workers and communities,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This infusion of resources into Ohio’s Appalachian Region will catalyze recovery and ongoing economic resilience efforts to spur new, diversified business development and job growth.”

“This project will support an 18-county partnership led by Ohio University, the Buckeye Hills Regional Council, and Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association that will provide technical assistance to communities affected by the decline of the coal economy,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “Over the two-year project period, specialists will help regional leaders devise strategies to accelerate the economy’s transition to new industries and communities will develop prospectuses to help utilize the region’s Opportunity Zones.” 

“We are appreciative of EDA’s investment and commitment to Ohio’s Appalachian region,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Ohio’s Appalachian region is home to a skilled workforce that is prepared to welcome diversified economic development in the coming years.”

“This $2.2 million federal grant to Ohio University is great news for our economic development efforts in Southeast Ohio and our workers and families in the region,” said Senator Rob Portman. “Opportunity Zones boost investments and jobs in struggling communities throughout Ohio which is exactly what Congress intended to accomplish when we created this incentive in the 2017 tax reform law. I want to thank Secretary Ross for this investment to allow Ohio University to help the Southeast Ohio region make the economic transition to new industries and ensure continued job creation as well as economic growth.”

“I thank Secretary Ross for awarding this important grant,” said Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-06). “For far too long, decision-makers in both Washington D.C. and Columbus have neglected to invest in rural areas like Appalachia Ohio. Over the past four years, President Trump and his team have put significant resources into areas like ours, through targeted grants like this one and programs such as Opportunity Zones. I know that Buckeye Hills, the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association, and Ohio University will work together and put this grant to good use.”

The funding announced today will catalyze private investment in nearby Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.

This project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program, through which EDA will award funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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