ReImagine Appalachia was born out of a broad recognition that the economy has not been working for most people and places in the Ohio River Valley. In response, a diverse set of economic, environmental and community leaders, and grassroots organizations, came together to find common ground and build the future we want to see—a 21st century economy that’s good for workers, communities, and the environment.
ReImagine Appalachia is a broad and inclusive coalition of individuals and organizations based in Appalachia, specifically in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. As part of this coalition, PennFuture helped to craft a blueprint to amplify voices to expand economic opportunity and reduce our greenhouse gases.
Now is the time to come together and reimagine a 21st century economy for the Ohio Valley that’s good for workers, communities, and the environment.
The coalition’s policy blueprint, released on July 21, has three guiding principles. You can read the entire blueprint by clicking here.
This blueprint calls on policymakers to maximize good union jobs, ensure access to union jobs for Black, Indigenous, women and low-wage workers, and ensure the community benefits from federal investments via public input and community oversight.
In addition, the blueprint demans for officials to restore our damaged lands and waters, build a sustainable transportation system and create new jobs for transit workers, revive the Civilian Conservation Corps, modernize the electric grid, and grow manufacturing by making it cleaner and more efficient while also making Appalachia a hub for electric vehicle production and alternatives to single-use plastic.
Finally, the blueprint advocates for union rights, better pay, benefits and local ownership models for working people across all industries in the region.
The report is also calling on officials to repair the damage done to Appalachia over the last century. This includes enacting policies that will clean up abandoned properties and put them back to good use, like repurposing shuttered coal-fired power plants into eco-industrial parks that utilize circular manufacturing. In addition, we are calling on officials to provide health care and secure pensions for coal workers, especially those with black lung disease.
To learn more about this important coalition, please visit https://reimagineappalachia.org/