The Community Colleges of Appalachia (CCA), founded in 1991, is an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges. For member colleges, CCA provides programs and services responsive to the unique cultural, geographic, and economic challenges facing the Appalachian Region. Colleges eligible for membership in the CCA are those public institutions that primarily offer a two-year associate’s degree or diploma and are located within the Appalachian region as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission. With almost 100 members, CCA promotes the creation of relationships that result in mutual advantages among institutions, organizations and individuals engaged or interested in the educational and economic development of the Appalachian region.
In partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, the CCA financially assists member colleges in attending the Association’s annual Workforce Development Institute. This project involves organizational development efforts to build the capacity and enhance the sustainability of the CCA so that its member colleges can better serve the region. Approximately 16 college presidents and other leaders, mostly from smaller rural colleges and distressed counties, will participate in the Workforce Development Institute.
Community Colleges are not only the primary workforce training system in the Appalachian region, but in much of the region they are the only resource communities have to call on for any needs that arise. Having a strong association both provides a peer learning network for the presidents of the institutions and enhances the capacities of member colleges. In fiscal year 2019, CCA offered scholarships for up to 5 faculty/staff members from CCA member colleges to enroll in one of the three graduate programs at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) for which ETSU has waived the out-of-state tuition for personnel from CCA member colleges.