On April 5th, the WDB co-hosted the Southwest Virginia Energy Storage and Electrification Manufacturing (ESEM) Jobs Project Economic Development Analysis and Community Advisory Plan Presentation, along with the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.
Our region’s companies and communities have been challenged by the ever-changing energy economy while simultaneously trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the GO Virginia State Board approved the Appalachian Voices ESEM Jobs project. This project will create jobs in the region while attracting new capital investments and expanding the local tax base. Through data-based, targeted technical assistance, the project will also help existing manufacturers break into the ESEM markets. Finally, it is the hope that the project will attract new national and global energy companies to Southwest Virginia, creating substantial capital investments, sustainable jobs, and an expanded local tax base to help strengthen the regional economy. Over 40 economic developers, colleges and training representatives, local government leaders, and nonprofit organizations attended to learn about this new initiative.
The University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute developed the SWVA ESEM Jobs Project Community Advisory Plan in response to this project. The Plan outlines the SWOT analysis, economic and community profile, and recommendations. EGI staff presented the Community Advisory Plan and discussed their findings and guidance at the meeting. The Appalachian Voices’ ESEM Jobs Project team members provided attendees with context about the project’s objectives and progress.