As governments around the world struggle with combatting climate change, the coal industry is facing a hard reckoning. As the coal industry downsizes, nearby communities are being hard hit and need to find ways to replace lost jobs or identify new economic engines. If your community is facing economic challenges due to the loss of mining jobs or reduced activities at local utility facilities, you might consider applying for the Coal Reliant Communities Innovation Challenge. This project supported, by the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Development Organizations, provides technical assistance and peer networking for community leaders seeking to diversify their local economies from a current heavy dependence on the coal industry. (Note: EntreWorks Consulting is helping to facilitate these training sessions).
The first session of the Coal Region Innovation Challenge program was held in Pikeville, KY in April and a second session is planned for September 16-18 in Grand Junction, CO. The final session will be held November 18-20 in Charleston, WV and the application process for this final session is now open. You can learn more about the project and the application procedures here. If you are facing local job loss due to cutbacks in the coal industry, do consider applying. This is a great opportunity to get access to leading experts and to learn about what other communities are doing to support economic diversification. The deadline for applications is September 23, 2015.