Officials announced $6 million in federal funding Thursday for agencies and groups to use in trying to improve the economy of Eastern Kentucky, which has been hit hard by a loss of coal jobs.
The state will receive $3 million of the money for programs related to a high-speed Internet network now under construction, such as helping businesses take advantage of e-commerce opportunities.
Construction has started on the $324 million broadband network.
U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, Gov. Steve Beshear and other officials announced the funding at an Appalachian Regional Commission conference in Somerset.
The broadband network was a key recommendation from the initiative called Shaping Our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, which Beshear and Rogers started in 2013 to try to come up with plans to improve the economy in Eastern Kentucky.
Other grants announced Thursday included more than $500,000 to the Kentucky Center for Agricultural and Rural Development for a project that could help create markets for farmers; $275,000 for Appalshop, in Whitesburg, for an information-technology certificate program; $1.2 million to WestCare to expand substance-abuse treatment in Pike County; and $100,000 to Perry County to help implement an economic-development plan, according to a news release.
"Today our communities are one step closer to bringing dreams to fruition," Rogers said.
The money was awarded through an Obama administration program called the POWER initiative, for Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization.