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Programs

The programs and services of API shift over time as its members see opportunities to advance its mission and build the sector’s private-sector business economy. API currently has four main program areas:

Since 2011 API has directly attracted more than $12.5 million in resources from various federal and state programs to address critical issues in the region and support the growth of the region’s for-profit business economy. API has also opened the door for tens of millions in additional resources to flow into the region through other organizations and partners. Some of the issues addressed with these resources include:

  • Incumbent Workforce Training – more than 800 workers in manufacturing companies across the region were retrained for higher-skill positions with Department of Labor funds attracted by API. The “UpSkill” program supported with these funds has become the model for local OhioMeansJobs offices to offer incumbent worker retraining funds from their ongoing stream of funding to help adult workers and businesses.
  • Ohio River Sites – funds API attracted from the Economic Development Administration supported a partnership that cataloged and marketed development sites along the Ohio River. The resulting marketing campaign and online GIS-enabled site search and promotion tool that won an award as the best economic development marketing program in Ohio for large communities or multi-county regions.
  • Furniture Cluster Initiative – With support through the Department of Commerce, API began the effort of inventorying the region’s hardwood furniture industry and providing support to furniture companies to build supply chain relationships and markets. This led to an understanding of the $26 billion in state GDP derived from the region’s hardwood forest industry and creation of API’s larger Forest-to-Furniture and OhioWoodProducts.com programs.
  • Manufacturing Extension – The Federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership program is a 50-state effort that provides millions in support annually to provide technical assistance and services to manufacturing companies. Before 2012, the program was virtually unknown and unused in Appalachian Ohio. From 2012-2017 API took leadership to ensure this vital resource was available to and used by the region’s manufacturers. More than $5 million in services were provided to hundreds of manufacturers before API handed-off ongoing administration of the region’s MEP programming over to Ohio State University in late 2017.
  • Coal Impact – In 2014 the Federal government announced that it would redirect resources to a new “POWER” Initiative help communities that had lost jobs due to the decline in coal mining and coal-powered electric generation. To qualify for these funds a region had to prepare a regional plan called a “core narrative” that established the extent of the economic disruption, the specific counties affected and the general nature of the services needed to address coal impacts on local economies. API took leadership on preparation of Appalachian Ohio’s core narrative. With the assistance of Ohio University’s Voinovich School API co-authored the core narrative for the region. As a result, tens of millions of POWER grant dollars have flowed into Appalachian Ohio to a variety of grantees.

API serves as a platform for development of programs and services that help build the region’s private-sector business economy. In some cases that program development involves standing up an affiliated subsidiary like API’s APEG and Appalachian Growth Capital subsidiaries. In other cases it involves creating a program and spinning it off to another entity such as the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program or the incumbent workforce training piloted by API and adopted by its regional OhioMeansJobs partners. In other cases, API operates a program itself for an extended period of time such as the Furniture Cluster Initiative that morphed over time into Forest to Furniture and OhioWoodProducts.com.

API recognizes that many of the issues affecting the private-sector business economy of Appalachian Ohio have their roots in one-size-fits-all state or federal policy or require a policy solution to allow the region to do what it must to prosper. Please see our Advocacy Page for more information about how API works to on policy issues.

The founding business leaders that set up API realized that the issues holding back prosperity in Appalachian Ohio are complex and requires simultaneous and coordinated efforts on multiple fronts. They also recognized that most past efforts to address Appalachian prosperity in Ohio were fragmented and spent a large portion of their available resources just to establish and maintain an administrative structure in which to operate.

API was founded with a structure designed to be flexible and allow efforts to proceed on many issues at once while also to be efficient by centralizing administration while sharing and reducing the costs of high-quality and accountable administration. Administrative services for API, its two affiliated subsidiaries and its various program efforts are handled by an efficient, unified back-office administration, which can readily take on additional affiliated subsidiaries, programs and services for the benefit of the region.