ARC’s Investment Priorities for Appalachia

Every year, ARC investments support hundreds of economic development projects benefiting Appalachia’s 420 counties. Projects align with one of five goals outlined in our current Strategic Plan, which is based on input from thousands of Appalachian community members and was developed alongside our local, state, and federal partners. The resulting investments ultimately help Appalachian communities address economic disparity and advance prosperity.

Investment Priority

Economic Opportunities

Investment in entrepreneurial and business development strategies is key to strengthening Appalachia’s economy.

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Entrepreneur in a manufacturing facility
Investment Priority

Ready Workforce

Increasing the education, knowledge, skills, and health of residents helps them contribute to economic growth.

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Training in an industrial facility
Investment Priority

Critical Infrastructure

Investing in broadband, highways, water/wastewater systems, and other basic infrastructure spurs economic activity, while improving health and safety.

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

Natural and Cultural Assets

Responsibly leveraging Appalachia’s natural and cultural heritage strengthens community and economic development potential.

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Canoeing on the river in Unicoi, Tennessee
Investment Priority

Leadership and Community Capacity

Increasing the skills of current and next-generation leaders strengthens their capacity to innovate, collaborate, and advance community development.

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Appalachian Teaching Project participants

Responding to Challenges and Opportunities

ARC’s flexibility enables us to focus on Appalachia’s emerging challenges and opportunities. We have developed investment strategies with our partners to help communities address the substance abuse crisis, attract private investments for Opportunity Zones, and respond to COVID-19.

COVID-19 in Appalachia: Responses, Recovery, and Resources

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.

Addressing Appalachia’s Substance Abuse Crisis

The nation’s substance abuse crisis has had a disproportionate impact on Appalachia. ARC is investing in recovery ecosystems to support workers and employers in building a stronger workforce.

Opportunity Zones in Appalachia

An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. ARC encourages potential grantees to consider Opportunity Zones when designing project proposals. During Fiscal Year 2019, more than 70 percent of ARC’s projects touched one or more of the Region’s 737 qualified Opportunity Zones, helping communities build mutually beneficial partnerships.

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