ARC Seeking Applicants for Region’s Leading Economic Development Training Opportunity

Public, private, and nonprofit leaders throughout Appalachia are encouraged to apply for ARC’s free nine-month training program.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2023—Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) opened applications for the fifth class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute (ALI), a free leadership and economic development training opportunity for individuals currently living and/or working in the Appalachian Region. The Appalachian Leadership Institute is an all-inclusive, nine-month program focusing on skill-building, seminars, best practice reviews, mentoring, and networking to equip committed Appalachians with the skills, vision, and connections needed to help build a stronger future for the region.

The curriculum comprises six multi-day seminars across the Appalachian region, each focusing on one of ARC’s 2022-2026 investment priorities, and concludes with a graduation ceremony in Washington, D.C. The fifth class will run from October 2023 through July 2024, and will prepare Fellows to:

  • Design effective economic development project proposals
  • Integrate community assets into long-term economic development strategies
  • Identify resources available to spark economic and community development
  • Locate and access investment capital from a variety of public and private sources
  • Prepare competitive applications for public grant opportunities
  • Use expanded connections and leadership skills to create strong regional partnerships

“As Appalachia looks toward the future, it’s critical that we help train and uplift a diverse array of leaders from across the region’s 13 states,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “I’m encouraged by the way ARC’s Appalachian Leadership Institute further equips our region’s changemakers in their efforts to make lasting impacts on their communities.  I encourage Appalachians who are interested in ushering our region into a new era of prosperity to apply.”

ALI is limited to 40 Fellows annually, drawn from a variety of Appalachia’s public, private, and nonprofit industry sectors. Each class represents a diverse network of unique perspectives and experiences to reflect the Appalachian region’s wide assortment of economic development challenges, opportunities, and strategies. Travel, in-person sessions, and other associated costs to participate are covered by ARC.

“This program is capitalizing on the talent and potential of leaders in Appalachia,” said ARC States’ Co-Chair, Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky. “Last year, five Kentuckians were selected for the Leadership Institute, and they will apply what they’ve learned to improve their communities. When we encourage and invest in the leaders already here, we secure a brighter future for our region.”

Upon completion of the program, Fellows automatically join the ALI Alumni Network, a peer-to-peer working group of experts committed to helping foster collaborative solutions that will strengthen communities and economies across the region. Regular alumni events provide an opportunity to stay connected to the network of 150+ ALI alumni and continue learning from leaders in Appalachian development.

Applications for the 2023-2024 class are open through June 1, 2023. To learn more about the program and apply, visit: To meet the 2022-2023 class of Fellows and learn more about how they are helping lead Appalachia’s future, visit:

About the Appalachian Leadership Institute  
The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a comprehensive regional leadership training program developed by the Appalachian Regional Commission in partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker Jr. School for Public Policy and Public Affairs; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact. The current class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute includes representatives from a variety of sectors and industries such as education, health care, economic development, public service, and other professions.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 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. Learn more at