NACo and the NADO Research Foundation, with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), are pleased to announce the eight teams selected for the final round of the Innovation Challenge for Coal-Reliant Communities program. The selected teams—led by counties and regional development organizations and including a broad range of other public- and private-sector partners—competed for the opportunity to participate in this program, which offers resources to support places impacted by downturns in the coal industry. The Innovation Challenge program assists county and regional leaders with retooling local economies to be more resilient to changing conditions.
The winning teams are led by:
- Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (representing Monroe County and Wayne County)
- West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (representing Muskegon County)
- Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments (representing Cibola, McKinley and San Juan counties)
- Armstrong County, Pa.
- New River Valley Regional Commission (representing Giles County, Va.)
- New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (representing Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh and Summers counties, W.Va.)
- Kanawha County, W.Va.
- Mason County, W.Va.
The eight interdisciplinary teams will attend a three-day training workshop in Charleston, W.Va., in mid-November, and will benefit from tailored technical assistance before and after the event to help them implement a variety of strategies and projects related to economic diversification, asset-based development, cluster development, workforce training, broadband, recreation and tourism and entrepreneurship.
This is the third group of teams to be selected for this program. Previous rounds included a group of seven teams that attended a training workshop in Pikeville, Ky., in April 2015, and a group of eight teams that participated in a similar event in Grand Junction, Colo., in September 2015.
More information and materials related to those rounds are available at naco.org/innovationchallenge. Additional resources for counties and regions seeking support with economic diversification, job creation, workforce training and related topics can be found at diversifyeconomies.org.