Small businesses in Pennsylvania’s coal regions affected by the downturn in the coal industry will get help through three federally funded Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center projects.
The funding is part of the Obama administration’s second round of grants, nearly $28 million, announced in October that supports 42 economic and workforce training programs in coal communities in 13 states.
In Pennsylvania, the state SBDC and the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania will spearhead the plan as part of the federal POWER Initiative (Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization). The initiative is to help small businesses and communities adapt and grow from losses in coal mining jobs, coal power plant operations and related supply chain industries over the last seven years.
Coal mining and related activities in Pennsylvania are at historic lows, which has a ripple effect on small businesses, such as lower sales because coal miners have less disposable income, and from fewer contracts with large supply chain companies.
Plans include outreach to small business to inform them of resources and the creation of a webinar series by industry experts.
The regions in Pennsylvania most affected by the changes in the coal industry include the southwest, southern Alleghenies, north central and northeast, including Carbon County.
Companies impacted in the state’s coal regions can contact their local SBDC at http://pasbdc.org/centers for a free consultation.