YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded the Youngstown Business Incubator $1.35 million to support small-business development efforts in Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana, Ashtabula, Jefferson, Belmont and Monroe counties.
The award is part of a $21 million grants package announced during a Thursday morning event at America Makes downtown. The Power (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) grants are intended to support 21 new economic diversification projects in 211 counties impacted by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal-related supply chain industries.
“I commend the Youngstown Business Incubator for innovating and collaborating to grow opportunities for people in their own community and neighboring communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairwoman Gayle Manchin. “Partners like [the YBI] are integral to making our Power projects come to life, and I look forward to seeing the ways our Appalachian Region continues to grow, thanks to the impact of their work.”
The 21 projects announced Thursday will support entrepreneurship, workforce development, infrastructure, tourism and health care projects to create jobs, expand job and skills training, according to a release. They will also serve to attract new private investment in Appalachian communities affected by the downturn of the coal industry.
Since the Power grants were launched in 2015, the Appalachian Regional Commission has invested some $316.6 million in 393 projects across 358 coal-impacted counties. Last year, the nearly $73 million invested is expected to create or retain more than 10,383 jobs and attract nearly $527.3 million in leveraged private investments, according to the release.
YBI CEO Barb Ewing said the grant will enable the incubator to meet demands for small business assistance. Funded resources include business counseling, “tech” enabling, workshops and bootcamps, advanced manufacturing projects, procurement and supply chain diversification, no-cost direct service opportunities to displaced coal workers, grant writing, and marketing and outreach initiatives, according to a release.
“Working with our partners, this funding will strengthen the recovery of the local economy by assisting small businesses in accessing capital, pursuing procurement opportunities, developing business plans, adopting advanced technologies (in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing settings), and supporting startups,” Ewing said in the release.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Castillo attended the event as part of her tour of the region.
“The Economic Development Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission enjoy a strong and vital partnership, and I am proud of the work that we do together to help create economic opportunity and jobs in the 13-state Appalachian region,” Castillo said. “We congratulate the new ARC Power grantees, many who are either prior or current EDA grantees, and pledge to continue to work together and collaborate widely with all regional stakeholders to assist plans to diversify and grow Appalachia’s economy.”
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, praised Ewing and the YBI for their efforts in aiding small businesses.
“Today’s announcement of the federal investment into the Youngstown Business Incubator did not come by happenstance. Their hard work and dedication every single day has clearly paid off,” Ryan said. “I am grateful for the vision and leadership of Barb Ewing, CEO of the YBI, and all of her hard work, creativity and persistence.”
Ryan also thanked Manchin and Castillo for their support of the Youngstown area.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6, applauded the investment in the YBI, as well as investments in Gallia and Athens counties. Those investments include:
- $1,473,578 to Rio Grande Community College (Gallia County) to establish a new workforce training center to serve Athens, Gallia, Jackson, Meigs and Vinton counties.
- $1,500,000 to the Buckeye Hills Career Center (Gallia County) for construction of a workforce training center.
- $1,386,000 to the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (Athens County) to create workforce development opportunities on a career ladder in community health occupation.
“The Appalachian Regional Commission has proven time and again that it is vital to Eastern and Southeastern Ohio, and these new grants will launch additional efforts to promote economic opportunities and workforce training right here at home,” Johnson said in a release.
“These projects also demonstrate how regional collaboration can spur innovation and encourage entrepreneurs. Today’s announcement is a major win for the region, and I thank Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin for prioritizing Appalachia Ohio. I look forward to continuing to work with ARC to support our local communities.”
Read more about this grant in George Nelson’s story Friday morning at BusinessJournalDaily.com.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.