CHARLESTON (WVDN) – The West Virginia Community Development Hub (The Hub) has announced it has joined the National Association of Counties (NACo) as a partner in the Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities (BRECC) initiative. This initiative, with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) and American Rescue Plan funding, will allow The Hub to bring its model of community development to coal-impacted communities within the project’s footprint.
“NACo is committed to equipping coal-reliant communities with the tools to transition and diversify their economies. BRECC will empower local leaders to think about the future and take steps to create near- and long-term economic opportunity,” said NACo’s CEO and Executive Director Matthew Chase.
The BRECC initiative includes four core activity areas: The BRECC National Network, which is open to all interested stakeholders in coal-impacted communities; The Coal Communities Commitment Coalition, a learning network where up to 20 leaders will be chosen and receive guidance on economic diversification strategies; The Coal Communities Action Challenge, a technical assistance program for up to 15 coal communities; and a National Storytelling Campaign.
A major component of The Hub’s work with BRECC will focus on the BRECC Coal Communities Action Challenge (the Action Challenge). During the initiative, coal-impacted communities are invited to create teams and apply to receive capacity-building support. The Action Challenge will grant these teams valuable technical assistance to help local leaders identify and advance projects focused on economic revitalization and diversification.
The Hub understands the historical importance of working with coal-impacted communities and their leadership while walking alongside them as they revitalize and grow their economies. Since 2009, The Hub has engaged in this type of work with over 60 communities across West Virginia, helping them build vibrant places and create local economic stability.
Working directly with Action Challenge communities will allow The Hub to translate its years of knowledge and training to communities outside of the state for the first time. The Hub is joined in the work by the Colorado-based Community Builders and EntreWorks to bring technical assistance and in-depth educational training to selected communities.
“The Hub is thrilled to partner with NACo, Community Builders and EntreWorks as part of this BRECC initiative,” said The Hub’s Community Development Partnerships Coordinator Beth Thompson. “We are particularly excited to share our values and coaching model with community members beyond our West Virginia borders, learning alongside leaders from around the country.”
Teams participating in the Action Challenge will receive intensive, individualized training that will culminate in the development of community-specific economic diversification plans. Teams can look forward to one-on-one coaching support, a virtual learning series with subject matter experts, building a network with other selected coal community teams and an in-person capstone event. Up to 15 community teams will be selected to engage in this training through a competitive application process.
To learn more about BRECC’s core activities, join the National Network or apply for the Action Challenge or Commitment Coalition, visit Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities at www.naco.org.
For more information about BRECC and The Hub’s role in BRECC Coal Communities Action Challenge, email Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.