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U.S. Conference of Mayors, Wells Fargo Foundation Announce $150,000 Grant

Mayor Steve Williams, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Wells Fargo joined in an event on Sept. 28, to celebrate a 2016 First Place CommunityWINS (Working/Investing in Neighborhood Stabilization) Grant Award.

An award in the amount of $150,000 was presented to Coalfield Development Corporation (CDC) for its work with the West Edge Factory Solar Training Institute -- a collaborative effort located in Huntington’s Westmoreland neighborhood to train dislocated coal- and manufacturing-sector workers in solar-roof installation. The award is part of a nationwide CommunityWINS Program made possible by a grant from USCM and the Wells Fargo Foundation collaboration.

The 2016 CommunityWINS program, a collaboration between the USCM and Wells Fargo, provides grants to city-based nonprofit organizations and recognizes mayors for exemplary leadership in developing local programs that promote long-term economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for residents in three categories: neighborhood stabilization, economic development, and job creation. An independent panel of judges, selected by The U.S. Conference of Mayors, determined the six winning nonprofits from a pool of 252 nominations as part of the competitive application process for three city population groups -- small, medium and large.

“The Coalfield Development Corporation and its Solar Training Institute at the West Edge Factory are proving to be cutting-edge catalysts in our efforts in the City of Huntington to set an
innovative standard that offers hope and opportunity to dislocated workers in a changing energy economy,” Mayor Williams said. “We are excited that our efforts to transform the economy of our region by creating sustainable, high-skilled jobs are being supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Small City 2016 CommunityWINS grant. This grant provides a large signal of hope to all who live in our city and region that we can and will restore our economic future.”

The City of Huntington is partnering with the Coalfield Development Corporation
(CDC) to construct and launch a solar training institute in a large abandoned factory in the heart of the distressed West End neighborhood. The West Edge Solar Training Institute, which will train dislocated coal- and manufacturing-sector workers in solar roof installation, is a key component of the city’s economic diversification strategy and revitalization plan to reverse decades of devastating industrial decline.

“We envision West Edge being on the cutting edge of clean energy technology,” said Brandon Dennison, executive director of the Coalfield Development Corporation. “This site will train laid-off coal miners and other disconnected populations to be leaders in a rapidly changing energy market. The CommunityWINS grant award will bolster our efforts in making this vision a reality.”

Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors said, “Our 2016 CommunityWINS Grant Program gives the Conference an opportunity to showcase positive change happening now in our cities to make a difference in the lives of residents. We are grateful to Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation for their support of the CommunityWINS Program, which also highlights the talent and commitment of mayors and city governments.”

“Wells Fargo is delighted to collaborate with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to make these grants available for innovative programs such as the Newton Innovation Center that will help revitalize the local community,” added Martin Sundquist, executive director of the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. “Wells Fargo cares about the communities we serve and the 2016 CommunityWINS grant program is among several economic empowerment efforts we support that will add up to make a big difference for local neighborhoods.”

For more information on the 2016 CommunityWINS Grant Awards recipients, go to www.usmayors.org/communitywins.

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