Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities: New NACo Community of Practice

Jennifer Kuiper - September 22, 2022
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Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities: New NACo Community of Practice

NACo is pleased to announce the launch of the Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities (BRECC) initiative. Through the support of the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the American Rescue Plan funding, the BRECC initiative will create a knowledge-sharing and peer-learning community of practice to empower local leaders and other champions to develop new ideas, approaches and fundable projects as coal communities seek to retool local and regional economies.

“Counties play a key role in fostering conditions for economic strength and positioning our economies for the future,” said Matthew Chase, Executive Director of NACo. “We are pleased to lead this initiative to help communities overcome coal-related economic challenges, and we thank the EDA for investing in our local economic resilience.”

NACo is excited to partner with the West Virginia Community Development Hub and Colorado-based Community Builders to develop this national network and support forum. A cross-sector Advisory Council of government, business and nonprofit experts will ensure BRECC activities and resources reflect the pressing needs and emerging opportunities for BRECC participants. The BRECC team will build on previous NACo and partner programming and efforts to convene and support coal-reliant communities through four core activity areas:

  • BRECC National Network of local, state and national stakeholders focused on coal communities
  • The Coalition of 20 local government leaders building a peer-to-peer learning leadership network
  • Team-based Challenge cohorts receiving coaching and individual capacity building for 15 coal communities
  • Storytelling campaign to share local experiences with a national audience


The BRECC National Network is an open forum and peer network connecting coal community leaders representing local governments, regional organizations, community nonprofits, education and workforce providers, utilities, private business and other local stakeholders. The BRECC Network bi-monthly virtual learning and coordinating sessions, will feature issue-specific presentations, peer breakout discussions, community case examples, and critical funding and resources available to coal communities.

Join us for the kickoff BRECC National Network session on Thursday, November 3 at 3:00 PM ET.

In addition to these virtual discussions, NACo will host in-person workshops at our national conferences.


The BRECC Coalition is a network of local leaders dedicated to advancing economic development and community revitalization initiatives and sharing their experiences with peers nationwide. Through the Coalition, up to 20 individual leaders will be selected to participate in this peer-learning and capacity building network. Participants will travel to four coal communities across the country, while forming valuable collaborative relationships and sharing strategies through regular virtual discussions. More information on the application period and timeline for the Coalition will be forthcoming.


Building on NACo’s past programming in support of coal-reliant communities and BRECC partner expertise, the Challenge will work with selected coal communities to provide in-depth, individual coaching and mentoring. There will be two Challenge cohorts, each receiving support for 12 months to create an implementable action plan for economic diversification and community revitalization. The Challenge application will call for communities to form cross-sector and multidisciplinary teams of both government and non-government community leaders. In particular, the Challenge will prioritize applicants representing under-resourced communities in the early stages of economic diversification planning with a demonstrated commitment and readiness to take action for plan implementation. More information on the application period and timeline for the first Challenge cohort will be forthcoming.


Lastly, the BRECC initiative will capture and share inspirational and educational stories of coal communities and coal community leaders., These stories will include challenges, promising approaches, and celebratory accomplishments that reflect the diversity of coal community experiences. BRECC will create a resource hub to readily share these community stories.