More than $3 million in federal funds have been awarded in Western Pennsylvania to boost entrepreneurship, economic development and broadband connections in areas severely impacted by the decline of the coal industry.
The funds are part of $44.4 million the Appalachian Regional Commission awarded through its POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) grants program for projects that aim to create jobs and help redevelop communities.
Grants and recipients include:
•Bridgeway Capital, a Pittsburgh nonprofit lender, $1.2 million for initiatives to help startups including business development workshops, counseling, a business incubator and small grants;
•Venango County Economic Development Authority, Franklin, $1.5 million for a business innovation center in Oil City, and a fiber optic expansion project;
•City of Erie, $500,000 to expand the Erie Innovation District’s Secure Smart City initiative with free public Wi-Fi access in Erie’s eight Opportunity Zones;
•Greene County Board of Commissioners, Waynesburg, $50,000 for a study of rural broadband coverage;
•Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, Altoona, $50,000 for a broadband infrastructure feasibility study;
•Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, Lamont Furnace, $20,000 for a feasibility study of multi-tenant speculative buildings to be built throughout Fayette County, to help attract new businesses.
Joyce Gannon: email@example.com or 412-263-1580.