Coal towns hit by layoffs to get job grants from US gov’t


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — U.S. communities hard hit by coal industry layoffs in eight Appalachian states and Texas are being promised more than 3,000 jobs in several industries through a multimillion-dollar federal grant.

Officials for the Appalachian Regional Commission and other agencies announced the 29 projects totaling nearly $39 million at a news conference in Huntington, West Virginia, on Wednesday.

The funding comes from a job-creation organization involving multiple federal agencies, including the U.S. Commerce and Labor departments and the regional commission.

Officials say the investments are expected to create or retain more than 3,400 jobs in agriculture, manufacturing and other industries.

Appalachian states involved in the projects are Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

The commission says about 23,000 Appalachian coal jobs were lost between 2011 and 2015.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that the grants involve eight Appalachian states, not nine. North Carolina is not included.