The Appalachian Regional Commission's programs address the five goals identified in the Commission's 2016–2020 strategic plan: 1) investing in entrepreneurial and business development strategies that strengthen Appalachia's economy; 2) improving the education, knowledge, skills, and health of residents to work and succeed in Appalachia; 3) investing in critical infrastructure–especially broadband, transportation, including the Appalachian Development Highway System, and water/wastewater systems; 4) strengthening Appalachia's community and economic development potential by leveraging the Region's natural and cultural heritage assets; and 5) building the capacity and skills of current and next-generation leaders and organizations to innovate, collaborate, and advance community and economic development.
- asset-based development;
- community infrastructure;
- education and training;
- entrepreneurship and business development;
- export and trade development;
- leadership development and capacity building;
- tourism development; and
- transportation and highways.
The projects funded in these program areas create thousands of new jobs; improve local water and sewer systems; increase school readiness; expand access to health care; assist local communities with strategic planning; and provide technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses.
ARC also works to strengthen and diversify the Appalachian economy through the Appalachian Regional Development Initiative (ARDI). The ARDI is a partnership between ARC and ten federal agencies that aims to conduct local outreach to facilitate community participation in federal programs, and to collaborate with regional stakeholders to make strategic and cost-effective investments in Appalachia.