ECONOMY

Appalachian coal towns hit by layoffs due money for growth

Federal officials say they are announcing "significant" investments in projects in Appalachian communities hit hard by layoffs in the coal industry.

Wednesday's scheduled announcement comes five months after $65.8 million was made available to stimulate growth and opportunities in coal communities nationwide. Those funds are from the Obama administration's Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization initiative, or POWER.

The Appalachian Regional Commission received $45 million to distribute to communities to help them diversity their economies, create new jobs and retrain workers. According to the ARC, about 23,000 Appalachian coal jobs were lost between 2011 and 2015.

The announcement will be held in Huntington's Wild Ramp food market. The ARC says it's a partner in the Central Appalachian Food Enterprise Corridor being supported through the POWER initiative.