The ACT Now Coalition will bring nearly $100 Million of new investment to 21 counties in Southern West Virginia.  $62.8 million comes directly from the U.S. EDA.  An additional $26 million in matching non-federal funds has been committed, with more still to come.  These investments are for building out the “climate technology cluster” in our region.  Our project will specifically involve clean energy, sustainable mine land reclamation, renewable energy, environmentally friendsly manufacturing and environmental entrepreneurship.  Most importantly, ACT Now will invest in the workforce for these emerging economic sectors, largely based on the innovative models creative by Coalfield Development.

The ACT NOW (Appalachian Climate Technologies) Coalition led by Coalfield Development Corporation consists of more than 20 public and private partners working to expand emerging climate resilient sectors of the local economy.

Purpose of ACT Now:

ACT Now will repurpose brownfields as economic hubs for environmentally friendly manufacturing, technology innovation, and job training; promote reuse of former coal mines for new sustainable land uses; promote healthy foods, agro- forestry, biobased products and outdoor recreation as economic generators; conduct workforce development and entrepreneurship initiatives to fill these new job opportunities; and help local communities get prepared for economic diversification and new resiliency. The geographic focus of ACT Now is (21) counties in southern West Virginia.

Key Appalachian Partners:

ACT Now is led overall by Coalfield Development Corporation, with eight component initiatives led by the City of Charleston and the City of Huntington, West Virginia University and Marshall University, and the state’s leading economic and community revitalization nonprofits including Generation West Virginia, Advantage Valley, the WV Hive Network, the WV Community Development Hub, the WV Brownfields Assistance Center, the Central Appalachian Network (CAN), the Nature Conservancy, and the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers. Over 50 private sector corporations are already involved in expanding businesses, leveraging investment, and hiring workers on these initiatives.

Funding:

ACT Now is funded by a $62.8 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, leveraged with $30 million from the State of WV, foundations, localities, universities, and the private sector.

Outcomes & Benefits:

ACT Now will create 3,000 new direct full-time and 15,000 indirect jobs, boost 50 new businesses, and leverage $250+ million in private investment in these environmental technology sectors.

 

Advantage Valley is working on the following two ACT Now Coalition Projects.

 

The LIFT Center (Construction Project)

The City of Charleston, the State of West Virginia, Kanawha County, the WV International Yeager Airport, Charleston Area Alliance, and regional economic development organization Advantage Valley will transform the 9.7-acre, 110,000 sq. ft. idled Kanawha Manufacturing plant in a low-income neighborhood in the heart of the city. Kanawha Manufacturing Co. began building equipment for the WV coal mines in 1902, and expanded in the power generation aftermarket in 1960s. It has reached its last generation of owners who now seek a transition strategy. ACT Now will transform this site into the new LIFT Center, which will include a Coalfield jobs learning and training center, along with the Charleston Food Manufacturing Hub and other clean-technology uses.  This will include a new Marshall University Green Battery Research Institute that will foster the emerging, zero-emissions eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aerospace sector, along with new eVTOL charging stations and pilot training at Yeager Airport and other WV airports.  Learn more here.

 

 

Community + Business Resilience Initiative (CBRI):

The WV Community Development Hub (The Hub), Advantage Valley, WV Hive, West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers, and AFV Educate have partnered to create conditions for the workforce, business, and industry growth in the 21-county ACT Now region through community coaching and planning, site development, and business development services. This partnership brings a suite of dedicated services – economic resilience planning + community coaching, locally-prioritized site assessment, and entrepreneurial and green business practices support for local business development- directly to 16 communities in the ACT Now region through multi-year support as part of the Accelerate WV program. Additionally,  entrepreneurial and green business practices support will be provided to GROW NOW training participants, and to aspiring entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, and business owners participating in or partnering with one of the additional 7 ACT Now Coalition projects.

The Community + Business Resilience Initiative (CBRI) supports the growth of a WV climate technology cluster by working with communities and local businesses to provide multi-layered community-based programs, small business support, and technical assistance to help create sustainability practices, green business strategies, and economic resilience plans. The initiative builds a 3-prong approach that serves as the foundation for successful economic diversification:

  •   People (leadership and business development)
  •   Planning (strategic and community resilience plans)
  •   Places (community and downtown development)

 

For more information, visit the ACT NOW Coalition website here.

 

Recently, the WV Community Development Hub (The Hub) announced the first group of communities to participate in its Accelerate WV program. The Accelerate WV program is part of the Community and Business Resilience Initiative (CBRI) work as part of the larger ACT Now Coalition.

Advantage Valley, along with our partners at The Hub, AFV Educate, WV Brownfields Centers, and The WV Hive, (part of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority) will work alongside six communities over the next two years, specifically Wayne, the Fairfield community of Huntington, the West Side of Charleston, Webster County, Ronceverte, and Princeton.

Advantage Valley will offer our entrepreneurship program across ten counties with a special focus on three of the six Accelerate communities chosen including:

Town of Wayne

Fairfield Community of Huntington

West Side of Charleston

 

Read further about 6 Accelerate WV Communities here.

Advantage Valley

Bryan Shaw

Director of Entrepreneurial Development

(304) 352-1165
Send Bryan an Email!

Advantage Valley

Barbie Wood

FASTER WV Business Coach

(304) 633-4829
Send Barbie an Email!

Unlimited Future

Jules Bills

FASTER WV Business Coach

(304) 697-3007
Send Jules an Email!

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