ARC’s Investment Priorities for Appalachia

Every year, ARC investments support hundreds of economic development projects across the Appalachian Region. Projects align with one of five goals outlined in our strategic plan, which was developed alongside our state partners and based on input from nearly 2,000 Appalachians. The resulting investments ultimately help build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.

Investment Priority

Building Appalachian Businesses

Investments in entrepreneurship and home-grown business development helps communities build sustainable, diverse economies.
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Entrepreneur in a manufacturing facility
Investment Priority

Building Appalachia’s Workforce Ecosystem

Expanding and strengthening community systems, including education, healthcare, housing, and childcare, will help Appalachians obtain a job, stay on the job, and advance their careers.

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Training in an industrial facility
Investment Priority

Building Appalachia’s Infrastructure

Access to reliable and affordable utilities and infrastructure ensure that Appalachia’s residents can successfully live and work in the Region.

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Appalachian Development System Highway Corridor U.S. 23 near Norton, Virginia
Investment Priority

Building Regional Culture and Tourism

Preserving and investing in the Region’s local, cultural heritage, and natural assets will strengthen Appalachia’s economic potential.

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Canoeing on the river in Unicoi, Tennessee
Investment Priority

Building Community Leaders and Capacity

Investing in the capacity of local leaders, organizations, and communities to address local challenges will strengthen the Region’s economic prosperity.

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Rooted in Community Conversations

ARC released its five-year strategic plan, Appalachia Envisioned: A New Era of Opportunity, in October 2021. Through six community conversations, 16 focus groups, and more than 1,200 public survey responses, community members affirmed the five core investment priorities ARC established in 2015. Those focus areas will continue through 2026.

Additionally, Appalachian communities want ARC to dig deeper into how we’re investing in economic development efforts – particularly projects that promote resilience, innovation, sustainability, and equity in Appalachia.

Community feedback also guided ARC to focus on job creation through home-grown entrepreneurial ideas and existing industries, expand our workforce investments to include more employee supports, increasing access to infrastructure and broadband, and helping communities better build off regional culture and strengthen their capacity to develop and execute economic visions.

Responding to Regional Challenges

ARC’s flexibility enables us to pivot and help communities address issues affecting economic growth, like COVID-19.

ARC is carefully monitoring COVID-19’s impact on Appalachia and quickly responding to assist our partners with their response. This includes county-level case tracking through an interactive map, curating resources, hosting virtual discussions, and encouraging grantees to repurpose funds for immediate COVID-19 relief and longer-term recovery.

Investments in Action

With ARC support, local economies are growing across the Region. Learn more about ARC investments in each of Appalachia’s thirteen states.
Two workers in a manufacturing facility
Students sitting on a bench while looking at a book
The Industrial Commons, Carolina Textile District