Brown Announces $750,000 Federal Investment to Start New Businesses, Create Jobs in Athens County

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced a $750,000 investment for Ohio University’s Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE) program through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative. The investment will help fund a two-year continuation of the SEE program, which works to develop businesses in the region and encourage investment in the community. The POWER Initiative is an inter-agency effort to strengthen communities impacted by the changing coal economy.

  • With the help of the federal investment, SEE expects to launch 17 new social enterprise businesses, create 38 jobs, and leverage $6 million in private investment. 

“Ohio workers can compete with anyone in the world when given the opportunity,” said Brown. “This federal investment will help support Athens County as it works to expand the local economy and provide opportunities for workers in emerging fields.”

“Today’s announcement is continued support for the work already underway to create new opportunities for those living in communities hardest hit by changes in the coal industry,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas. “These grants are a commitment to long-term diversification and economic growth in Appalachian Ohio.”

Last month, Brown helped secure $165 million for ARC in the final Energy and Water Appropriations bill signed into law by President Trump. In 2017, after President Trump’s budget proposed eliminating the ARC program entirely, Brown wrote to key leaders on the Senate Appropriations Committee calling for full funding for ARC. Brown has spoken out about the importance of ARC and against any cuts to the program.

Since its inception in 1965, ARC has generated over 300,000 jobs and $10 billion for the 25 million Americans in Appalachia. ARC supports Ohio and twelve other states across Appalachia to stimulate local economies, provide job training, expand broadband access in rural areas, and support local infrastructure needs.