Voinovich School EDA grant provides Adams County support for impacts of DP&L closures

Austin Ambrose
May 18, 2017

Assisting Adams County to mitigate the economic effects of the impending closure of the Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) Stuart and Killen coal-fired power plants is the perfect opportunity for the Ohio University’s Voinovich School to put a new EDA grant to work.

Awarded in late 2016, the new Ohio University Appalachian Ohio Skillshed Analysis grant provides combined funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Ohio University’s Appalachian New Economy Partnership to identify emerging occupations in the Appalachian region and assess the skills gap from declining industries, specifically coal.

“The information provided from this study will help guide us as we move through challenging times dealing with the projected closure of our two DP&L plants and largest employer in Adams County,” Brian Baldridge, Adams County Commissioner, said.

Recently, the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG) approached the Voinovich School on behalf of the Adams County Board of Commissioners and the Adams County Economic and Community Development Department to discuss how the Voinovich School might assist the county in documenting the economic, fiscal, and workforce impacts of the DP&L closures. Community members and those who work for the plant raised economic concerns about the closure, and future of potential jobs in the area.

“In order to support Adams County as they face this challenge, we identified the Voinovich School at Ohio University as an expert resource that strengthens the collaboration working to find solutions,” John Molinaro, APEG president and CEO, said.  “Their ability to identify emerging occupations and the skills needed to fill those jobs will be a critical piece of the puzzle.” 

Teresa Ward, Adams County Commissioner, commented on the incredible value the Voinovich School provides to Adams County, especially in terms of obtaining this information about the loss of jobs due to the closures.

 “The County must utilize all resources in able to recover the loss of sustainable revenues due to the plant closures by marketing the County for new business to boost the economy,” Ward said.

The skillshed analysis will provide a better understanding of the impact on the community and the area where those who work for the plant live. The hope is to identify jobs for the workers of the plant based on their current skills. The School will also conduct an economic impact to better understand how the plant closures will impact the broader regional economy.

“We will complete this analysis in labor sheds, which are geographic regions where people live and work,” Dr. Jason Jolley, Assistant Professor of Economic Development, said. “Our particular focus is on areas, like Adams County, where the coal industry is already declining, so we can begin to act on emerging opportunities in those areas.”

The Voinovich School will collaborate with Adams County Economic and Community Development and Workforce Development Area 1 to complete the project. The team hopes to have tentative results by the end of the summer.

“We look forward to the opportunity to help the communities and their residents impacted by the closure of DP&L, and continue our work in spurring regional economic development. This is a great way to use EDA funds and the Voinovich School resources to assist Adams County,” Jolley said.

Regional collaboration and innovation are the cornerstones of the EDA’s mission. With these guiding principles, the group will hopefully provide insights that will enable Adams County to grow and develop long after the DP&L closures.

 “All the information and analysis they [Voinovich School] can provide to APEG, JobsOhio and Workforce Development will help our employees with future employment and job placement,” Ty Pell, Adams County Commissioner, said.