ARC Hosts 20th Annual Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) Featuring Economic Development Research Conducted by Region’s College and University Students

150 Students from 13 Colleges and Universities in 10 Appalachian States to Participate in Online Symposium

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 13, 2020 —Today, Friday, November 13 and tomorrow, Saturday, November 14, 2020, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) will host 150 students from 13 Appalachian based colleges and universities at the 20th annual Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) Conference.  

ATP is an applied-research academic program training college and graduate students to design community based economic development initiatives across the Appalachian Region. As part of ATP, students enroll in a for-credit course and conduct field research to identify and solve a community development issue during the fall semester. As a capstone to this work, students present their work to other student delegations from ATP participating institutions, ARC leadership, and community leaders in a formal peer-to-peer conference setting hosted by ARC. For 19 years, this conference was held in Washington, DC where students used the trip as an opportunity to meet with policy leaders and learn more about the city. This year, due to COVID-19 crisis, the ATP Symposium will be held online.  

“Students have had to face unprecedented obstacles this year, and I am pleased that so many have participated in this important program that focuses on benefitting the people of the Appalachian Region by designing innovative economic development projects,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “The 13 institutions participating in this year’s program are key partners developing the next generation of Appalachian leaders.” 

Student delegations from the following schools participating in this year’s ATP will give presentations focusing on substance abuse disorder and the economy; community development during the COVID crisis; and asset development as an economic development strategy in Appalachia: 

Alfred State College, Alfred, New York 

Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 

East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee 

Fairmont State University, Fairmont, West Virginia 

Frostburg State University, Frostburg, Maryland 

Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania 

Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 

Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Cumberland, Kentucky 

Union College, Barbourville, Kentucky 

University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, Georgia 

University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Bradford, Pennsylvania 

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 

Since 2001, over 2,500 college and graduate students from across Appalachia have participated in the Appalachian Teaching Project. Many ATP alumnae have gone on to careers in public service, community development, and other related fields across the Region. Summaries of each research project are available at ATP is one of four academies and institutes sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission. Through these experiential learning opportunities, participants build networks, hone skills, and cultivate an enduring commitment to Appalachia’s future. 

Supported by ARC and organized by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), students receive college credit for participating in ATP, and schools participating in ATP offer a directed seminar guiding students in developing and executing field-based research projects specific to the needs of their surrounding communities and in alignment with ARC’s investment priorities

About the Appalachian Regional Commission 
The Appalachian Regional Commission ( is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.