LEBANON, VA – DECEMBER 8, 2022 – Local economic development directors learned more about a new Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) jobs investment program during a meeting of local developers at the VCEDA office in Lebanon, Thursday.

The new program, the Coalfield Jobs Investment Project (CJIP), which was recently created by the VCEDA board, will provide a grant to eligible for-profit businesses located or locating in the VCEDA region which create at least one new full-time job in the region within VCEDA’s targeted industry sectors of information technology, manufacturing, energy or creative tourism.  

VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher briefed the local developers on the new program, noting it is funded by an appropriation of $250,000 the VCEDA board made from the VCEDA Coalfield Workforce Development and Training Fund. The funds will be utilized as pilot funding for the new program for the remainder of FY2023.

Only new full-time jobs are eligible for grant funding through the program which will generally make available $2,500 per new qualifying full time job. Under the program guidelines, to be considered full-time, the job must employ the worker for at least 1,820 hours a year. The job must also pay at least $16.50 per hour or the annual equivalent if salaried. At least 50 percent of the worker’s time must be directly related to one of the four targeted industry sectors and the worker must have been employed by the applicant business for at least 180 days. Jobs that are related to the direct production of coal or natural gas are not eligible under VCEDA’s policies. The grant must be used for a workforce development and training purpose as defined in the policies for that program. A letter of support is required from the economic or industrial development authority in the VCEDA county or city in which the company is located.

Applicants may not apply for a grant more than one time for the same position, or to backfill attrition in a position for which a grant has already been received.  Remote or telework positions are eligible so long as the worker physically resides in the VCEDA region.

“The goal of the Coalfield Jobs Investment Project is to be pro-active in encouraging the creation and development of new full-time jobs in the coalfield region in diversifying industry sectors,” Belcher said.  “Earlier this year, VCEDA worked with Virginia Tech to refine the industry sectors which were deemed to be the best targets for growth and diversification in the region and this new project builds upon that work by providing a way to support those jobs.  An additional goal of the project is to support the creation of new telework or remote work positions in the region.”

For further information on the new program and how to apply, eligible businesses may contact their local industrial/economic development authority or VCEDA may be contacted directly at (276) 889-0381 or mail@vceda.us.

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.