ST. PAUL, Va. — During the opening plenary of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)’s annual conference, Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin provided a preview of ARC’s new 2022–2026 Strategic Plan. The strategic plan, Appalachia Envisioned: A New Era of Opportunity, is expected to be formally approved by the Commission in the coming weeks.
During the plenary conversation with Appalachian Regional Commission States’ Co-Chair Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, and Moderator Chancellor Donna Price Henry of University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Federal Co-Chair Manchin emphasized that the new strategic plan reaffirms ARC’s commitment to five primary investment goals:
- Building Appalachian Businesses;
- Building Appalachia’s Workforce Ecosystem;
- Building Appalachia’s Infrastructure;
- Building Regional Culture and Tourism; and
- Building Community Leaders and Capacity.
While the goals reflect ARC’s perennial emphasis on economic development, they have evolved based on new insights shared from Appalachian stakeholders regarding challenges and opportunities in light of COVID-19, the ongoing substance use disorder epidemic, and economic diversification, particularly in coal-impacted communities.
ARC’s new strategic plan is also framed around multistate and regional collaboration.
“The success of bringing this strategic plan to life is completely dependent on how well all 13 states and 420 counties in Appalachia can work collaboratively to build upon our past work to bring the Region to the next level,” said Federal Co-Chair Manchin.
“We’ve seen tremendous success in improving the quality of life in the Region, but we have more work to do to bring Appalachia to socioeconomic parity with the rest of the nation. We are committed to working alongside our local, state, and federal partners to innovate, partner and invest in our Appalachian Region over the next five years and beyond.”
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