Appalachian Regional Commission


Map of ARC Counties

The Appalachian Regional Commission was established by Congress in 1965 to promote growth and to improve the quality of life in the thirteen Appalachian States. Thirty-seven of Alabama’s counties are included in the ARC region, and the local participation is facilitated by eight local development districts.

The development organization for the ARC program in Alabama functions within the Governor’s Office. Administration responsibilities for the development programs of the ARC are assigned by the Governor to the ADECA Director. As such, the Director serves as an Alternate State Member of the Commission.

ARC invests in activities that address at least one of five goals:

  • Invest in entrepreneurial and business development strategies
  • Increase the education, knowledge, skills, and health of residents
  • Invest in critical infrastructure especially broadband, water/wastewater systems, and transportation including the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS)
  • Leverage the region’s natural and cultural heritage assets
  • Build the capacity and skills of current and next generation leaders and organizations.

ARC projects require a varying degree of match from 20 percent to 50 percent depending on the level of distress in the county.

ARC administers all non-construction projects, and construction projects are managed by a federal basic agency or the state.ARC grants jointly funded with CDBG projects are managed by the ADECA CDBG staff, stand-alone ARC construction projects with other federal funds are managed by the federal agency, and stand-alone construction projects without other federal funds are managed under contract by a consultant.

The ARC’s POWER (Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) program is a congressionally-funded initiative that provides resources to assist communities and regions adversely affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. POWER supports efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities by cultivating economic diversity, enhancing job training and re-employment opportunities, creating jobs, and attracting new sources of investment.

The Local Development Districts (LDDs) are our local partners and are an active and essential part of the ARC partnership. There are eight LDDs in Alabama’s Appalachian Region, and each LDD operates under a Board of Directors composed of elected representatives from the various local governments.

Alabama’s Appalachian Region includes the 37 northern-most counties. These counties are: Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, DeKalb, Elmore, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Macon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pickens, Randolph, St. Clair, Shelby, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, and Winston.



ARC Accepting Applications for Summer Study Programs

Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy (AEA)

High school students from across Appalachia will be selected to participate in a comprehensive learning curriculum designed to cultivate creativity, sharpen business acumen, and develop skills essential for entrepreneurial success. AEA will be held from July 8-21, 2023, at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

More at

Appalachian STEM Academy

This is a hands-on learning experience for Appalachia’s middle and high school students, as well as high school teachers in STEM-related fields. Hosted by Oak Ridge Associated Universities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, this program is a gateway to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the Appalachian Region.

More at

Applications for both opportunities are due February 10, 2023.


ARC’s J-1 Visa Waiver Program RFP

ARC invites proposals from qualified consultants to identify current contact information and collect feedback from sponsoring medical practices, physician supervisors, and physicians who participated in ARC’s J-1 visa waiver program from 2012 through 2021. This outreach will help ARC learn about the experiences of physicians and sponsoring medical practices, the impact on communities served by ARC’s J-1 visa waiver program, and the likelihood that physicians will stay in their community after completing their three-year commitment.

Program Information

RFP Information

Proposals Due: February 24, 2023


READY Appalachia

READY Appalachia is ARC’s new community capacity-building initiative offering flexible funding to organizations in four key economic development pillars: nonprofits, community foundations, local governments, and Local Development Districts, and free training to the Appalachians that work for them.

READY Local Governments will help local government employees better apply for, manage, leverage, and implement federally funded projects to invest in infrastructure, business and workforce development, and other long-term solutions to improve the lives of residents.

More at

Proposals Due: March 10, 2023


Investments Supporting Partnerships in Recovery Ecosystem (INSPIRE) Initiative

ARC is now accepting applications for the Investments Supporting Partnerships in Recovery Ecosystem (INSPIRE) Initiative to create or expand a recovery ecosystem in Appalachia that will lead to workforce entry or re-entry.

More at

Final applications are due March 17, 2023.


Appalachian Collegiate Research Initiative

The Appalachian Regional Commission (“ARC”) is seeking proposals from colleges and universities (“Institutions”) in and near the Appalachian Region to participate in the Appalachian Collegiate Research Initiative (“ACRI”). As part of the ACRI, each participating Institution offers at least one for-credit course during the 2023 Fall Semester in which students address the question, “How do we support community economic development to help build a sustainable future and close the socioeconomic gap between Appalachia and the rest of the nation?”

Administered by East Tennessee State University Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services, the ACRI engages students from up to 16 colleges and universities in place-based learning experiences in which they practice community economic development firsthand. Following completion of their community-based research project, the ACRI provides a forum in which students share their work with their peers, with ARC administration and staff, and with invited guests, including community partners and university administrators.

Through this model, the ACRI directly invests in one of Appalachia’s most precious resources: its future leaders. By promoting student engagement with Appalachian communities, fostering leadership development, and bringing students, faculty, and leaders together to share their ideas, this project directly supports ARC’s mission to “Innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.”

The Request for Proposals (RFP) can be found at Questions concerning the RFP must be received by email to no later than 12:00 p.m. ET on March 10, 2023. ARC reserves the right not to answer questions received after that time. Proposals are due on or before 5:00 p.m. ET March 31, 2023.



Crystal G. Talley
Federal Initiatives and Recreation Division Chief
(334) 353-2630

Leslie M. Clark
Federal Initiatives and Recreation Unit Chief
(334) 353-2909