BUCKHANNON — Mountain CAP of WV, Inc. has been awarded $49,995 by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to explore the feasibility of developing a workforce training program and social enterprise focused on glass and plastic recycling for coal-impacted communities in Braxton, Upshur, and Webster Counties.
This award is part of a recently announced nearly $54 million package supporting 64 projects in 217 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which directs federal resources to economic diversification projects in Appalachian communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. This is the largest single POWER awards package to date since the initiative launched in 2015.
This funding will allow Mountain CAP and community partners — the Upshur County Development Authority, City of Buckhannon, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Braxton County Commission, Webster County Officials, and local artisans, residents, and businesses in each county — to begin the planning phase of developing glass and plastic recycling not currently available.
This project will also explore the requirements for the workforce training components needed for successful employment in recycling or related fields. The exact number and types of positions will be defined through this planning process and be based on a market analysis and visits to recycling programs in other states doing similar work.
“From workforce training and agriculture, to downtown development and broadband expansion, the projects receiving grants in this round of POWER funding show that the future of Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities is economically diverse and innovative,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Projects like these are resulting in life-changing transformations, which in turn, not only provides new economic opportunities, but brings a renewed sense of hope and purpose across our Appalachian Region.”
Mountain CAP Executive Director, Kathy McMurray stated, “Every three years, Mountain CAP conducts a community needs assessment in Braxton, Upshur and Webster Counties. The 2022 assessment identified a need for more employment opportunities, especially for those reentering the workforce as a result of factors such as COVID, substance use, incarceration and the decline in the coal and gas industries in our region.”
“This project is in response to that assessment and begins the planning process to create additional avenues for workforce training and employment in a manner that also helps improve the environment for our local communities,” she added.
Including today’s award package, ARC has invested over $420 million in 507 projects impacting 365 coal-impacted counties since POWER was established in 2015. ARC’s investments have helped create or retain over 53,000 jobs and prepare over 142,000 workers and students for new opportunities in entrepreneurship, broadband, tourism, and other growing industries.
About Mountain CAP
Mountain CAP is a community action agency/community development corporation with a vision of creating inclusive, vibrant communities where all individuals are thriving and a mission of building foundations for individuals, families and communities through programs and partnerships that promote family stability and increase economic opportunities. A recycling program based in workforce development moves us closer to achieving those goals.