Despite the challenges caused by the decline in the coal industry and its effect on local communities, there is a powerful movement underway across the country as coal-reliant regions seek to change their fortunes through economic diversification. With funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (Denver Regional Office), the NADO Research Foundation and the National Association of Counties have partnered to collaborate with coal communities in Appalachia and the Western states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah. These projects seek to boost the innovative potential of places dependent on the coal industry as they grow and diversify their economies, create good jobs, and explore emerging opportunities and sectors.
Momentum for change at the community level is heartening. Residents, businesses, elected officials, educational institutions, workforce boards, and other key stakeholders are coming together and developing new and interesting strategies to support diversification. This 15-minute webinar briefing provides examples and best practices from efforts in coal communities that are tapping into local assets and growing local economies. These include drone technology, outdoor recreation, mine reclamation, broadband, and more. The process of change will not be easy, but the current transition offers tremendous opportunities to rebuild communities and forge a path towards a more prosperous future.
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