Appalachian commission awards $26M to struggling coal towns

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Appalachian Regional Commission is spreading $26.5 million in awards to nine states to assist struggling coal communities.

The commission said in a news release Thursday that the money is projected to create or retain more than 5,400 jobs and leverage more than $193 million in private investments in those areas.

West Virginia is set to receive about $7.6 million of the grant awards, while Kentucky will receive nearly $3 million and Tennessee about $1.5 million.

The commission says programs will support workforce training and education in manufacturing, tech, health care and other fields.

The other states receiving grant awards are Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The money was made available through the commission's POWER initiative, Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization.