Two area projects have been selected to receive funding through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative, according to a news release from Gov. Tom Wolf’s office.

The City of DuBois was awarded $500,000 for the Penn Highlands Heathcare Behavioral Health Hospital while the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission in Ridgway received $600,000 as part of the program.

“Our coal-impacted communities in Pennsylvania have felt the changing economy of the country’s energy production in a major way and cannot be left behind,” Wolf said. “These 15 project awardees are focused on improving the way of life for individuals in the Appalachian Region—bringing new economic opportunities, preparing a skilled workforce, investing in broadband and other critical infrastructure, and advancing community and economic development.”

Pennsylvania received more than $15 million in October’s round of funding for projects in the Appalachian Region.

According to the release, the Pennsylvania projects range from focus on energy innovation, broadband investments, tourism, substance use disorder, behavioral health and workforce academies.

Details on the area projects, as detailed in the “POWER Project Summaries by State,” include:

Project title: Penn Highlands Healthcare Behavioral Health Hospital

Grantee: City of DuBois

Award amount: $500,000

Announcement date: October, 2020

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ARC grant of $500,000 to the City of DuBois in DuBois, Pa. for the Penn Highlands Healthcare Behavioral Health Hospital project. The project will construct a stand-alone behavioral health hospital as part of the eight-building construction/renovation project started by Penn Highlands Healthcare. This project will serve patients suffering from drug and alcohol addiction and behavioral health issues, and/or use medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The facility will include the addition of a psychiatric urgent care center and acute psychiatric care for children and adolescents, along with an extended sub-acute unit for at-risk children and adolescents. The project will help expand the adult inpatient unit by 14 beds. The new behavioral health facility is expected to serve 3,200 patients a year and create 163 jobs. Additional funding for the project is provided by Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

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Project title: Pennsylvania LDDAP Statewide Broadband Initiative

Grantee: North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission

Award amount: $600,000

Announcement date: October, 2020

ARC grant of $600,000 to the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission in Ridgway, Pa. for the Pennsylvania LDDAP Statewide Broadband Initiative. The project, in partnership with Pennsylvania’s other six local development districts (LDDs) in the Appalachian Region, will help communities assess strategies and associated costs for deploying broadband in unserved areas. It will also facilitate broadband deployment activities, including the installation of fixed wireless broadband equipment and the partnership with existing internet providers to expand broadband service into target areas. The project will serve 425 businesses, 1,700 households, and 13 communities. Additional funding is being provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Each year through the POWER Initiative, the ARC offers competitive funding to 13 Appalachian states (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) for numerous projects in a wide range of program areas, according to the release. The ARC’s focus for the 2020 POWER Initiative is investments that are regional, strategic, transformational, and that maximize economic revitalization.

The POWER Initiative targets federal resources to help communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. By encouraging economic diversity, enhancing job training and re-employment opportunities, creating jobs in existing and new industries, and attracting new investments, it supports efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities, the release stated.

A full list of projects awarded ARC funding in October is available online at: arc.gov.

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