ARC’s Area Development program relies on a flexible “bottom up” approach to economic development, empowering Appalachian communities to work with their state governments to design impactful investment opportunities supporting our mission and investment priorities.
Within the scope of our Strategic Plan, ARC’s Area Development program makes investments in two general areas: critical infrastructure and business and workforce development. Critical infrastructure investments mainly include water and wastewater systems, transportation networks, broadband, and other projects anchoring regional economic development. Business and workforce investments primarily focus on entrepreneurship, worker training and education, food systems, leadership, and other human capital development. In addition, ARC invests in Business Development Revolving Loan Funds to help the Region’s smaller businesses access capital.
All ARC Area Development grant proposals originate at the state level in consultation with the ARC state program manager.
Managing Construction Projects
ARC’s investments in roads, buildings, water systems, broadband networks and other brick-and-mortar projects are administered by a designated Basic Agency, a federal or state public agency experienced at managing federal construction grants. Basic Agencies oversee environmental reviews, construction progress, grant payments and reimbursements, and all federal, state, and local compliance issues.
Managing Non-Construction Projects
ARC’s non-construction investments in workforce training, food systems, asset development, and other human capital initiatives are mostly managed directly by ARC staff. Successful grant applications will be assigned to an appropriate ARC subject matter expert who will monitor progress and facilitate payments.
Business Development Revolving Loan Funds
Business development revolving loan funds (RLFs) are pools of money used by grantees for the purpose of making loans to local businesses to create and retain jobs. As loans are repaid, money is returned to the fund and made available for additional loans. Since ARC made its first RLF grant in 1977, ARC-supported revolving loan funds have disbursed over $222 million via 2,770 loans to create and/or retain nearly 100,000 jobs and leverage $1.57 billion in private investment for the Region.