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Federal funds to help coal communities

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World Coal,

The US federal government is to make US$35.5 million available to help communities and workers adapt to changes in the coal and power sector in Appalachia.

Appalachia has been particularly hard hit by the downturn in the coal industry in the US with many mines closing with the loss of thousands of jobs.

“Recent changes in the energy economy had a profound impact on Appalachian families and communities that have been sustained by the coal industry for generations,” said US Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez. “We have a moral imperative to work together to ensure we all succeed.”

Secretary Perez announced the funding at the Shaping our Appalaciian Region (SOAR) Summit in Pikeville, Kentucky. Grants will target economic diversification and worker advancement in impacted coal communities.

The Department of Labor is providing US$20 million, the Department of Commerce, US$2.5 million, the Small Business Administration, US$2.5 million and the Appalachian Regional Committee, US$500 000.

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