Since October, community members from across Appalachia have been convening to learn leadership skills and economic development best practices to take back to their communities and help Appalachia thrive. They are taking part in the Appalachian Leadership Institute – a program of the Appalachian Regional Commission in partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact, designed to build leadership capacity across the region. 

Centered around ARC’s Investment Strategies which include preparing a ready workforce, infrastructure building, asset development, and entrepreneurship, the comprehensive nine-month leadership and economic development training program features skill-building seminars, real-world case studies, field experiences, and networking opportunities. Fellows are also able to learn from the Region’s leaders during fireside chats with former Governors from Appalachian states and to meet with current government officials and experts from across the country.

If you are passionate about your community and live or work in Appalachia, you are eligible to apply for the next cohort of Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows. There is no cost to apply or participate in the Appalachian Leadership Institute and the program is seeking applications from passionate Appalachians who represent the diversity of the region. As a Fellow, you will have the opportunity to learn from other professionals and build relationships with experts who can help bring new and fresh ideas to your community. Upon completion of the program, you will become part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute Network, the alumni association committed to Appalachia’s future.

As part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, participating Fellows learn how to:

  • Design economic development project proposals
  • Integrate community assets into sustainable economic development strategies
  • Identify resources available to spur economic development
  • Locate and access investment capital from a variety of public and private sources
  • Prepare competitive applications for public grant opportunities
  • Use expanded leadership skills to create strong coalitions/partnerships

While the COVID-19 crisis is a difficult time for communities across the nation and the world, it has made the need for local leadership even more profound. The Appalachian Leadership Institute develops leaders ready to meet the Region’s next challenges – no matter how big or small.

To learn more about the Appalachian Leadership Institute and to fill out your application to be part of the Class of 2020-2021, visit www.arc.gov/leadership. The application deadline is Monday, June 1, 2020.