Washington, D.C. – Today, the Bipartisan Policy Center announced the launch of the Appalachia Initiative. Led by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), David Perdue (R-GA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), the initiative will chart a bipartisan approach to increase jobs and prosperity for the Appalachian region.
Declines in industries such as coal and traditional manufacturing – once the backbone of the region – have led to high levels of unemployment and poverty.
The senators will each lead a roundtable discussion focused on a set of critical themes:
- Warner – Education and Workforce
- Perdue – Entrepreneurism and Job Creation
- Manchin – Energy and Infrastructure
- Tillis – Rural Health
The initiative will convene experts to generate recommendations for economic and talent development in Appalachia. The recommendations will be used to engage with congressional colleagues and the Trump Administration on a broad agenda for the region.
Despite recovery efforts from the Great Recession, many communities in rural America are still being left behind. This is especially true for the 25 million people that live in the Appalachian region. Declines in industries such as coal and traditional manufacturing – once the backbone of the region – have led to high levels of unemployment and poverty, affecting the broader health of residents. Communities and individuals throughout Appalachia have developed responses to these challenges that reflect their own unique needs and experiences. By refocusing on the economic assets of the region, including a talent pool with a strong work ethic, this initiative is intended to identify additional solutions for economic growth and job creation.
The Appalachia Initiative will be supported by a bipartisan task force of regionally and nationally recognized educators, business leaders, and advocates who will examine legislative and regulatory avenues to stimulate economic growth in the Appalachian region.