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Southwest Virginia Community College has launched a REDI Center (Retraining Energy Displaced Individuals Center for Displaced Coal Miners).  The REDI Center will assist laid off coal miners and dislocated supply chain workers impacted by the downturn in the coal energy sector to receive retraining and educational opportunities to prepare them for successful re-entry into the workforce.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has provided a $38.8 million investment to grow the economy in the nation’s coal-impacted communities. The SWCC REDI Center is part of this initiative.

SWCC will receive $1.4 million from ARC, including tuition scholarship funds, to assist these workers in retraining for high-wage, high-demand careers. In addition to ARC, the Virginia Tobacco Commission, and a private foundation partner, are all contributing to the funding of the REDI Center.  Spouses of laid off miners may also be eligible for tuition scholarship assistance through this initiative.

We would like to thank ARC for their support of the college through this grant,” said Dr. Mark Estepp, president of SWCC. “We have great respect for those who have worked in an industry that was traditionally at the core of our region’s economic success, coal mining,” he said. Estepp continued, “The REDI Center will make possible a way for laid off coal miners to transition into other well-paying and viable jobs in and out of the area.”

“The Appalachian Regional Commission has invested significant funds to economic development in Southwest Virginia over the past 50 years,” said Phyllis Roberts, SWCC grants administrator.  “We appreciate their continuing to support our coal-impacted communities with the POWER initiative.”

“SWCC has a proven track record of training and retraining the coal mining communities, which it serves. There are few families in this region who have not been effected by layoffs and mine closings,” said Dr. Barbara Fuller, vice president of academic and student services. She continued, “SWCC stands ready to assist individuals with a variety of programs, many of which offer credentialing leading to high-wage, high-demand jobs.”

The REDI Center is operating immediately. Interested individuals who believe they qualify for this assistance should contact SWCC at (276)964-7818.


For more information, you may complete this form and a REDI Center counselor will contact you.

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NEWS RELEASE – 08/24/16
Obama Administration Invests $38.8 Million to Strengthen Economy in
Nation’s Coal-Impacted Communities
29 Projects Will Stimulate Economic Development in Nation’s CoalImpacted Communities
Huntington, W.Va. — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration today announced a $38.8 million investment to grow the economy in the nation’s coal-impacted communities. These 29 awards were made as a part of the Obama Administration’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative to stimulate economic growth and opportunity in communities that have historically relied on the coal economy for economic stability. With this announcement, communities and regions that have been negatively affected by changes in the coal economy are able to strengthen their economies and workforces.
“The projects and awards we are here to celebrate today help communities persevere and flourish as they deal with the challenges presented by the coal economy,” said Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “POWER invests in jobs and workers, and develops and implements strategies and projects that can help transform these respective regions, states, and our nation.”
displaced minersWith these investments, more than 3,400 jobs are anticipated to be created and/or retained in agriculture, technology, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and other diverse sectors in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities. These awards have also attracted an additional $66.9 million in leveraged investments from other public and private partners.
 “Appalachian communities are actively engaged in creating diverse local economies that are resilient, sustainable, and strong,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl. “Local leaders and entrepreneurs will use these investments to develop, direct, and implement economic diversification initiatives which will have long-lasting impact.”
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin joined Gohl and Williams at the Wild Ramp in Huntington, West Virginia, for today’s announcement. The Wild Ramp is a local food retailer and a partner in the Central Appalachian Food Enterprise Corridor, which received a $1.5 million grant through today’s announcement. The Central Appalachian Food Enterprise Corridor anticipates creating/retaining 370 jobs, creating or improving more than 250 local businesses, and attracting at least $2 million in additional partner investments to strengthen local food production, processing, and distribution in five Appalachian states over the next five years. 
The POWER Initiative is a multi-agency effort aligning and targeting federal economic and workforce development resources to communities and workers 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. The POWER Initiative is part of President Obama’s POWER+ Plan, a broader set of investments in coal-impacted communities, workers, and coal technology proposed in the president’s FY 2017 budget. Today’s awards were granted from the $65.8 million in POWER funding announced by ARC and EDA in March 2016.
A summary of today’s announced awards is available on the White House Web site.
Additional information about the POWER Initiative is available at or
About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.
To learn more about ARC, visit
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration
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. To learn more about EDA, visit


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