The Industrial Commons awarded big grant to boost textiles, furniture

Posted October 14, 2020


MORGANTON, N.C. – The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced an investment of $977,850 to The Industrial Commons to promote the creation of a textile and furniture circular economy.


The development of a textile and furniture circular economy will have a significant economic impact of $27,630,753 in Western North Carolina by 2030, by developing industry clusters, fostering entrepreneurial activities and building a competitive workforce.


“POWER grants invest in improving opportunities for workers in communities across the Appalachian Region. As North Carolina continues to respond to the challenges of the pandemic and climate change, investments like this in innovation and training will help fuel smarter and stronger growth over the next decade,” said N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper. 

This investment from the ARC will allow The Industrial Commons to purchase large pieces of equipment that will prepare a waste aggregation site for growth and initiate production of and demand for circular yarn. The project also includes the development and implementation of human resources, financial and cooperative development curriculums, skilled training programs and pathways to quality jobs for a disinvested and emerging workforce.


“I congratulate The Industrial Commons for their POWER award, and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches.”


Globally, markets are shifting to more environmentally sustainable products and production methods. For rural Appalachian regions, there is an opportunity to ensure that traditional sectors, such as furniture and textiles, continue to be strong, sustainable, meet modern market demand and grow to provide continued and increased investment and job opportunities for rural citizens. This investment will serve 12 businesses and create at least 30 new jobs.


Funding for today’s award was made via the ARC POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative to help communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. Locally, the project has been supported by the Manufacturing Solutions Center, Opportunity Threads, Valdese Weavers, and Kellex Seating.


The Industrial Commons operates four social enterprises and industry cooperatives that serve over 50 businesses in the region. The organization has 14 full or part-time staff and was selected in 2018 as a Communities Thrive Challenge awardee by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.


The Industrial Commons is a nonprofit that develops interconnected social enterprises that solve problems for businesses and workers. It was formed in 2015 in response to a need in Western North Carolina for an industry-focused organization to provide resources and support to firms and networks in a way that improves livelihoods and roots wealth in communities. Its social enterprises ensure that industrial businesses are revitalized and sustainable, work is rooted and meaningful and workers live good, dignified lives.


Source: The Industrial Commons

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