New Community Group Hits the Ground Running in Indiana County

Indiana County Thrives, a new area community organization, is off to a strong start. Funded by a $150,000 grant, the new organization aims to partner with communities near our region’s three coal-fired power plants to identify opportunities for economic growth. The grant is a result of collaboration between W.H.O.L.E. Unity and the Center for Community Growth, who applied for funds from the Just Transitions Fund, to support projects aimed at bolstering equity, economic resilience, entrepreneurship, and workforce development in the frontline communities hardest hit by the transition away from fossil fuels.

Indiana County Thrives is already connecting with municipal leaders to begin identifying projects to create good jobs. However, the initiative doesn’t stop at mere brainstorming; it actively seeks technical assistance, partnerships, and funding to turn community dreams into reality. And it will do so through a series of public  meetings, which will both open connections to a network of similar communities and seize the opportunities of this moment in our nation’s rural reinvigoration.

Recognizing the realities of this economic transition, Indiana County Thrives is also reaching out to area educational institutions. Indiana County’s long leadership in energy production can be maintained by developing a workforce poised to monitor gas wells, install and maintain solar panels, and retrofit buildings with energy efficient technologies to cut utility costs, just to name a few career possibilities.

“The unprecedented levels of federal funding flowing into rural communities will allow us to reshape our energy economy,” says Jonathan Smith, Indiana County Thrives Program Coordinator and Homer City native. “By all working together, we can capitalize on these historic investments before they pass us  by.” 

For more information about Indiana County Thrives, visit indianacountythrives.org, or to get involved, please contact Jonathan Smith, Indiana County Thrives Program Coordinator at jsmith@indianacountythrives.org, or by phone at 724.762.1223