Through a nationally competitive application process, Pike County has been selected to be a participant in the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities (BRECC) Action Challenge. Serving eight communities from across the United States, BRECC’s Action Challenge supports teams of local leaders and community members with individualized coaching to develop action plans that respond to local needs and priorities. Over the next 12 months, BRECC’s Action Challenge teams will receive coaching support from community and economic development experts from the West Virginia Community Development Hub, EntreWorks Consulting and Colorado-based Community Builders.

Commissioner, Mark Flint shared, “Coal has been the lifeblood of Pike County’s local economy for generations, as Pike County is positioned on the Illinois Coal Basin. By participating in the BRECC Challenge, we will have a unique opportunity to develop an economic diversification strategy over the next 12 months with targeted short-term goals to attract new business and job creation.”

NACo is a national membership organization that represents the needs and interests of counties from across the United States. Through programming like BRECC, NACo supports county efforts to continue serving and creating opportunities for their county residents.

“Coal communities play a vital role in our nation’s economic growth” said Matt Chase, NACo CEO and executive director. “We are committed to helping coal communities increase the resilience and strength of their economies by leveraging NACo’s close relationships with local and federal stakeholders.”

BRECC is a Community of Practice initiative supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. BRECC’s programming will build local capacity to pursue a wide range of economic revitalizations strategies, including workforce retention and development, infrastructure and alternative energy, placemaking and outdoor recreation, entrepreneurial ecosystems and business development, and sustainability and funding planning.

In addition to the Action Challenge technical assistance program, BRECC programming includes the BRECC National Network, which convenes interested stakeholders from around the country to learn more about strategies for supporting their coal communities through economic transitions and coal power plant closures. The BRECC Commitment Coalition is a peer learning network of 20 coal community leaders, who will deepen their knowledge of economic resilience through virtual workshops and in-person site visits.

“The U.S. Economic Development Administration is committed to supporting coal communities currently facing and experiencing transition,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “Through the Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities initiative, we’re delighted to recognize and support the 20 local leaders and eight community teams who were selected to participate in the Commitment Coalition and Action Challenge. They represent the innovative, entrepreneurial leadership that is needed to help coal communities across America build and access new opportunities for growth in the years ahead.”

To view all Action Challenge teams and learn more about BRECC’s programming, visit

The National Association of Counties (NACo) strengthens America’s counties, including nearly 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million county employees. Founded in 1935, NACo unites county officials to advocate for county government priorities in federal policymaking; promote exemplary county policies and practices; nurture leadership skills and expand knowledge networks; optimize county and taxpayer resources and cost savings; and enrich the public’s understanding of county government.