Pennsylvanians living in coal communities who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and the economy will see additional relief in the form of new jobs and grants, according to Gov. Wolf in an announcement that commits $3.8 million towards investing in Bedford and Huntingdon counties.
The investment, called the Coal Communities Commitment program, draws from the $300 million allocated under the American Rescue Plan that promises to create jobs and diversify industries within communities that face the two-prong struggle of the pandemic and a stagnant local economy.
“This is a $3.8 million investment in a successful future for these communities,” declared Gov. Wolf in a plan that promises to create and maintain over 100 jobs, focusing on job retention, supporting small businesses, and investing in manufacturing.
According to the U.S. census, manufacturing is the biggest sector of the local economy for both Bedford and Huntingdon counties, with retail sales trailing as a distant second.
The investment will allocate $2.6 million to Bedford County Business Park for the construction of a 24,000 square foot space that will attract manufacturing clients. The $640,000 local investment matched will also create 46 jobs while retaining 36 current ones.
Huntingdon County will receive $1.2 million for expanding Juniata College’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in a plan that aims at revitizaling more diverse and local businesses. The $290,000 local investment will also help to create new jobs while retaining potentially 25 current ones.
Gov. Wolf, who is serving his final year in office, has repeatedly emphasized the link between education, technical training, and job creation during his two terms as governor.