Coal-Reliant Communities Innovation Challenge


​The National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation, with the support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, are partnering to support county and regional leaders in coal-reliant communities with retooling their economies to become more resilient to changing conditions. Throughout 2015, NACo and NADO Research Foundation hosted three intensive, hands-on workshops designed to boost the innovative potential of coal-reliant counties and regions seeking to grow and diversify their economies. Counties and regions were asked to form teams to apply to enter the program. Teams that submitted winning applications were selected to attend one of three workshops guided by expert facilitators and practitioners. These workshops were structured to guide counties and regions to design solutions tailored to their communities’ needs and identify implementable projects.

The first workshop was held in Pikeville, Kentucky from April 22-24, 2015.

The second workshop was held in Grand Junction, Colorado from September 16-18, 2015.

The third workshop was held in Charleston, West Virginia from November 18-20, 2015.

For a full list of workshop activities and information on the teams that participated, please see the Innovation Challenge Workshops tab on the header bar above. For more information on the administration of the challenge, visit