Appalachian Leadership Institute FAQ

What is the purpose/mission of the Appalachian Leadership Institute?

The Appalachian Leadership Institute is designed to equip a diverse network of leaders with the skills, expertise, and vision to address Appalachia’s most pressing issues and increase our Region’s economic competitiveness.

Am I eligible to apply for the Appalachian Leadership Institute?

To be eligible, applicants must live or work in one of the 423 counties of the Appalachian Region, as designated by Congress. For more information on the Appalachian Region, click here. Qualified applicants in the program will have a demonstrated commitment to their community and an interest in economic and community development.

Do I have to work in economic development to apply?

No. The Appalachian Leadership Institute is for people who live and/or work in Appalachia and are passionate about helping their communities thrive. That could mean you work in economic development or it could mean you are an entrepreneur, teacher, elected official, or someone who is engaged in their community through volunteer or non-profit work. The most important quality in an applicant is that you are engaged and ready to learn how to help your community.

What if I don’t have a resume or my career path has been non-traditional?

The Appalachian Leadership Institute is seeking a diverse pool of candidates from across the region. One resource with examples of resumes by industry, which might be helpful for skilled trades or non-traditional career paths can be found here. Another useful resume format option is the Functional Resume, which you can learn more about here. If you have additional questions or need assistance, please contact

How much does it cost to participate in the Appalachian Leadership Institute?

There is no registration fee for fellows selected to participate in the Appalachian Leadership Institute and the program covers lodging, as well as breakfast and lunch during each session. Dinners will be on your own and at the participant’s expense, unless there is a reception or event scheduled. Additionally, the program covers up to $800 in reimbursed travel expenses for each of the seven sessions.

How long is each session? How long should I plan to be away from work for each session?

Sessions will be three to four days. Some sessions will begin midday on the first day, allowing for travel to the session the morning of the first day (or the day before depending on distance and travel times). Other sessions will begin at 8:00 am the first day, requiring travel anytime the day before the session. All sessions will adjourn midday on the last day, allowing for travel the afternoon of the final day.

If selected, am I required to attend every session?

Attendance to all sessions is encouraged, but participants are allowed an excused absence of 20 hours (or one full session) with the exception of Orientation. The entire Orientation session is mandatory and if an applicant has a conflict with the Orientation dates, we ask you wait until a future year to apply.

How many people are selected to participate in the Appalachian Leadership Institute?

There will be 40 participants from across the Appalachian Region selected to participate in the program each year.

I applied to the Appalachian Leadership Institute Class of 2024-2025. When will I find out if I was selected?

Applicants will be notified in early September 2024.

Contact Us

Contact us by phone at 202.884.7700 or via email at