The Pennsylvania Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship has received a significant boost in funding with a $736,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce. This grant, along with $1.5 million in local, state, and other funds, will be used to stimulate growth in the region’s tourism and outdoor recreation workforce.
The Pennsylvania Wilds has been dedicated to promoting tourism and outdoor recreation in 13 counties in North Central Pennsylvania. The organization aims to showcase the natural resources of the state and stimulate local economies, creating jobs for Pennsylvanians in their own communities. This economic development grant will play a crucial role in expanding the PA Wilds’ efforts to strengthen the region’s outdoor recreation workforce and support rural economies.
U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania recognizes the importance of the Pennsylvania Wilds’ work and its positive impact on the state’s economy. He states, “Their work showcases our state’s crowning natural resources and stimulates local economies, creating jobs for Pennsylvanians where they live.” Senator Casey has been a longstanding advocate for the PA Wilds region, and this grant reflects his ongoing commitment to its success.
Senator John Fetterman, also from Pennsylvania, shares Senator Casey’s perspective on the significance of this funding. Drawing from his experience as the former mayor of a steel town, Senator Fetterman understands the economic challenges faced by communities across Pennsylvania. He expresses his belief that this grant will be critical to the region’s continued success and economic development.
This grant is just one example of Senators Casey and Fetterman’s continuous efforts to protect and support the PA Wilds region. They have consistently fought for its preservation and economic viability. In May, they voiced concerns regarding a proposal that could negatively impact the environment, wildlife, outdoor recreation, quality of life, and local economies in North Central Pennsylvania. In February, Senator Casey announced funding for manufacturing investments in coal communities to provide well-paying energy jobs. These initiatives aim to incentivize clean energy projects and support areas that have historically relied on the coal, oil, or natural gas sectors. In December 2021, the Pennsylvania Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship received $500,000 as part of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, which allocated funds for coal communities to invest in the emerging outdoor recreation industry.
The Pennsylvania Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the region’s economic diversification and job creation, particularly in areas severely impacted by the decline of the coal industry. These Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) initiatives, funded by the EDA, prioritize economic diversification, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.
With this substantial grant, the Pennsylvania Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship will be able to further its mission of preserving natural resources, investing in outdoor recreation and tourism, and revitalizing communities across the 13-county region. The funds will enable the organization to expand its programs, create more jobs, and attract private investment to drive sustainable economic growth.
The Pennsylvania Wilds has proven to be a valuable asset to the state, offering unparalleled opportunities for outdoor activities and tourism. With the support of Senators Casey and Fetterman, as well as the EDA’s grant, the region is poised to thrive, providing a strong economic foundation and a vibrant future for its communities.