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 Now Accepting Applications for 2021-2022 Class of Appalachian Leadership Institute
Applications Due May 1, 2021
ARC is accepting applications for the third class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, a leadership and economic development training opportunity for people who currently live and/or work in Appalachia. The Appalachian Leadership Institute is an extensive nine-month program focusing on skill-building, seminars, best practice reviews, mentoring, and networking. The curriculum is anchored by six multi-day seminars followed by a capstone graduation. Sessions are expected to take place throughout the Region should COVID-19 guidelines allow.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) has been issued for the ARC POWER Initiative. See the Funding Opportunities page for details.
Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy
ARC’s Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy (AEA), developed in partnership with the Institute for Educational Leadership, prepares the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and thinkers. Chosen via a competitive application process, rising high school seniors from across the Appalachian Region are selected to participate in a learning experience designed to cultivate creativity and develop skills essential for entrepreneurial success. As part of the program, AEA students receive tech support, materials, and other resources to participate. At completion, students will receive a formal Certificate of Completion.
This year, up to 26 participants will meet virtually in two phases. Phase 1, which will run from June 14-25, 2021, will provide participants with an orientation retreat that includes an introduction to curriculum components, ideation and team formation, and teambuilding. Phase 2, which will be held from July 12-30, 2021, includes a Design Thinking workshop, mentorship and coaching, sessions with some of the Region’s entrepreneurs and thought leaders, and concludes with an elevator pitch event.
ARC Oak Ridge Summer STEM Program
Established in 1990, the ARC Oak Ridge Summer STEM Program is a residential, 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. Many participants come from economically distressed counties and often gain their first exposure to applied science and STEM education through this experience.
All participants work with award-winning scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the largest U.S. Department of Energy research facilities in the United States. High school and middle school students conduct guided group science, math, and computer science technology research projects, while high school teachers work with science practitioners to develop STEM-related curriculum.
The program culminates in a graduation ceremony where participants showcase their work.
|Crystal G. Talley
ARC Program Manager
ARC Program Supervisor