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Turning Innovation Into Enterprise


Innovation Challenge for Coal-Reliant Communities

Coal Reliant Communities LogoThe National Association of Counties, the National Association of Development Organizations, and the U.S. Economic Development Administration are partnering on a competitive program to provide technical assistance to coal-reliant communities.

Counties and regional development organizations in areas experiencing economic challenges due to the contraction of the coal industry are invited to form teams to compete in the “Innovation Challenge for Coal-Reliant Communities.”  For eligibility criteria, application, and timelines, visit

Teams will be comprised of 4-6 individuals and must include at least one county official (such as an elected county official or senior appointee, such as a county manager) and one regional development organization representative (such as an EDD staff or board member or LDD staff or board member).  Team members may also include staff or elected officials from local municipalities, community development organizations, philanthropic organizations, business leaders and other partners engaged in small business development, workforce development, land use/transportation planning and/or educational institutions.  Note: A maximum of two representatives from a given organization are allowed to participate on a team.

Teams that submit winning applications will be selected to attend a hands-on workshop guided by expert facilitators and practitioners.  These workshops will be structured to guide counties and regions to design solutions tailored to their communities’ needs and identify implementable projects. ​

Three workshops will be held:


First Competition:

Workshop location: Pikeville, Kentucky

Workshop date: April 22-24, 2015

Application opens: January 7, 2015

Application closes: February 27 at 5pm ET


Second Competition:

Workshop location: Grand Junction, Colorado

Workshop date: September 16-18, 2015

Application opens: May 25, 2015

Application closes: July 17 at 5pm ET


Third Competition:

Workshop location: Charleston, West Virginia

Workshop date: November 18-20, 2015

Application opens: August 31, 2015

Application closes: September 25 at 5pm ET