Pennsylvania's Changing Coal Economy

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), headquartered at Kutztown University, along with Penn’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy (Kleinman Center) have received a federal grant to identify strategies to assist businesses impacted by changes in Pennsylvania’s coal economy.

The Pennsylvania SBDC is a network of 18 university-based centers that serve all 67 counties of the Commonwealth.  Five centers – Clarion University SBDC, St. Francis University SBDC, St. Vincent College SBDC, the University of Pittsburgh SBDC, and Wilkes University SBDC – will be part of this project and will target the following counties: Armstrong, Bedford, Cambria, Clarion, Elk, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Somerset, Washington, Westmoreland, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Allegheny, Beaver, Blair, Butler, Carbon, Columbia, Dauphin, Huntington, Lackawanna, Lycoming, Mercer and Venango.

Throughout 2017, the SBDCs and the Kleinman Center will be performing research to understand the economic issues facing small businesses in these regions and potential opportunities. 

The research effort aims to identify business development services for businesses and individuals negatively impacted from the downturn in the coal economy. The research effort plans for a future in which the downturn in the coal economy continues, noting that even with an improvement in the coal economy it is critical to help small businesses be more resilient to withstand potential future disruptions.

Pathway to implementation: Currently, the federal grant supporting this work is limited to research and plan development. However, this plan can serve as a prerequisite to obtaining federal funds for implementation of beneficial strategies identified in the report. In addition, the report will be used to inform Pennsylvania policy makers about strategies the state can pursue to assist distressed coal communities.

Stakeholder Meetings

As part of this project, the Pennsylvania SBDC and the Kleinman Center will be convening a series of stakeholder meetings to get regional input on the changing coal economy and how it is affecting small businesses. Check back for more details on these meetings as the date approaches.

Wednesday, May 10
Wilkes-Barre, PA

Thursday, May 11
Latrobe, PA

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Contact the Pennsylvania SBDC at