The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a unique federal-state partnership providing social and economic support for a 13-state region stretching along the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi.

Established by the United States Congress in 1965, when Appalachia was considered "a region apart" from the rest of the nation, ARC has worked to bring Appalachia's 22 million people into America's economic mainstream

ARC supports economic development activities in 29 North Carolina counties: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Davie, Forsyth, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, and Yancey counties.

Investment Priorities

Investment Priorities

Each year ARC provides funding for projects throughout the Appalachian Region of North Carolina. Projects approved for ARC assistance must support one of the five general goals.

Goal 1: Economic Opportunities: Invest in entrepreneurial and business development strategies that strengthen Appalachia's economy.

Goal 2: Ready Workforce: Improve the education, knowledge, skills, and health of residents to work and succeed in Appalachia.

Goal 3: Critical Infrastructure: Invest in critical infrastructure—especially broadband; transportation, including the Appalachian Development Highway System; and water/wastewater systems.

Goal 4: Natural and Cultural Assets: Strengthen Appalachia's community and economic development potential by leveraging the Region's natural and cultural heritage assets.

Goal 5: Leadership and Community Capacity: Build the capacity and skills of current and next-generation leaders and organizations to innovate, collaborate, and advance community and economic development.

Eligible applicants are public entities (cities, towns, counties, regions, public service districts) and nonprofit organizations.


Contact Information

Contact Information

For additional information about the ARC program, please contact:

Olivia Collier - ARC Program Manager - (919) 814-4656 or
Olivia is the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Program Manager for North Carolina, a federal program that provides economic development assistance to Appalachia based on the Governor’s priorities. She has held this position since January of 2007.  Olivia manages the day to day operations of the State’s ARC program. As program manager, her primary responsibilities are to ensure that the Governor’s priorities in Appalachia are being achieved and to ensure ARC resources are being deployed to assist in critical economic development challenges in the eligible ARC communities in Western North Carolina.  As the ARC Program Manager, she has witnessed the remarkable effect that the ARC program has had in the 29 eligible Western North Carolina counties.  During her tenure, the ARC program in North Carolina has awarded over $70 million to over 365 projects, leveraging an additional $115 million in other funding sources.  The approved projects have created and retained thousands of jobs, assisted families with early childhood education and access to affordable healthcare, and provided workforce skill training programs for numerous communities. Prior to her current role, Olivia worked with the Community Development Block Grant Program ensuring that all grantees comply with applicable federal requirements. She also served as the Public Information Officer for the Division of Community Assistance for two years. Olivia earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Master’s in Public Administration from East Carolina University. She has served on the New Generations Advisory Council and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Rural Health Task Force.

David McRae - ARC Grants Specialist - (919) 814-4672 or
David is the ARC Grants Specialist for North Carolina’s Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) program. His primary role is assisting eligible communities and organizations in Western North Carolina apply for ARC POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative funding. Through this initiative David helps communities develop projects that maximize economic revitalization focusing on building a competitive workforce, fostering entrepreneurial activities, developing industry clusters, substance abuse response, and broadband deployment. He also assists NC ARC staff on other ARC initiatives within North Carolina. Prior to his current role, David worked in local government for Harnett County Development Services and Sanford/Lee County Planning and Community Development. David earned his BS in Urban & Regional Planning from East Carolina University and his MA in Appalachian Studies, Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University.

Wesley Barker - ARC Community Development Planner, Northwest Region - (336) 907-0284 or
Wesley currently serves as an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Community Development Planner for the Northwest Region Prosperity Zone, serving 12 counties and 45 municipalities. In this role, Wesley works with local governmental entities, economic development organizations and non-profits. His work assists communities in their economic prosperity which includes job creation, revitalization & an overall strengthening of the regional economy by means of strategic planning, implementation services & technical assistance. Prior to his current position, Wesley worked 7 years in local government serving in the roles of Town Clerk, Human Resources & Planning. Because of his work in local government, Wesley understands the challenges that often face small, rural mountain communities. Because of this, Wesley can apply his understanding & knowledge throughout his region and strives to help them succeed. Wesley is a 2009 graduate of Appalachian State University and received degrees in Geography and Community & Regional Planning. Wesley is also a 2018 graduate of the North Carolina Rural Center’s Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI). Wesley is passionate about serving his community and currently serves on various community organizations and on several local boards of directors.

Ann Bass - ARC Community Development Planner, Western Region - (828) 508-0107 or
Ann serves the far western region of NC providing community and economic development assistance to communities, local governments and regional organizations. Assistance takes the form of networking resources, technical assistance and research, project and program development, strategic planning for economies or economic sectors, downtown revitalization and placemaking.  She is based in Sylva and has served in this position since March of 2017.  Throughout her career Ann has had experience gluing electronic encoders, landscaping, managing park construction, planning multi-use recreational trails, master planning state parks, serving as a private planning and urban design consultant, programming and designing public spaces nationally and internationally with the Project for Public Spaces, doing downtown and Main Street development, starting and managing not-for-profit economic development organizations in the White Carpathian mountains of the Czech Republic, Yadkin Pee Dee Lakes region of NC and in the Town of Siler City.  Her primary passion is for creating places we want to live in but she also has special interest in entrepreneurship and economic sector development—building out value chains using local assets and incremental investment to grow sustainable local economies.


Documents Oak Ridge Summer Institute

Oak Ridge Summer Institute

Program Description

The Appalachian Regional Commission is pleased to announce that it is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National      Laboratory (ORNL) and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to provide two residential, hands-on  learning institutes focusing on math, science, and technology for high school students and teachers (July 5-17, 2020) and for middle school students  (July 11-17, 2020).

ORNL is one of the largest U.S. Department of Energy research facilities in the United States. It is devoted to multi-purpose research and              development and is located approximately 20 miles northwest of Knoxville, Tennessee, near the famous Great Smoky Mountains National Park. ORNL is a U.S. Department of Energy facility managed by UT-Batelle. ORAU, a consortium on major universities, cultivates collaborative partnerships that enhance the scientific research and education enterprise of our nation.

The ARC/ORNL/ORAU Summer Science Academy for middle school students and ARC/ORNL Institute for high school students is a unique opportunity for students to work with research scientists on relevant math and scientific topics facing the world in the 21st century. Middle school students, in the one week academy, and high school students and teachers, in the two week institute, work in teams on research projects during with each team comprising three to six students in the middle school academy and three to six students and teachers in the high school institute. The team approach provides an opportunity to conduct research activities and solve problems in a group setting. Research topics and activities may include such areas as biofuels and alternative energy.

High school students and teachers work with research scientists on relevant math and scientific topics facing the world in the 21st century. Students and teachers work in teams on research projects during the two-week institute, with each team comprising three to six students or teachers. The team approach provides an opportunity to conduct research activities and solve problems in a group setting.

Students work in teams on research projects during the one-week academy, with each team comprising three to six students. The team approach provides an opportunity to conduct research activities and solve problems in a group setting. Research topics and activities may include such areas as biofuels and alternative energy. Interested parties can view examples of the research and other activities engaged in during previous summer science camps at the SummerSTEM website.

The participants will be housed at a hotel in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, near ORNL and ORAU facilities. Student participants will be chaperoned 24-hours a day by experienced teachers. Teachers selected to participate in the high school program will not be responsible for chaperoning students.

All major expenses, including meals, lodging, transportation to and from the participant’s home base and local transportation, will be covered for participants. Teacher participants will receive a stipend.

Participants will tour or spend days in ORNL research facilities, use a variety of technologies to solve problems in ORAU’s learning center, and participate in field trips to nearby industries, universities, and museums. Field trips will illustrate the applications of math and science in the real world and provide participants with opportunities to learn more about Appalachia and its unique characteristics. 

To start the application process, please visit the program's website



POWER Program

POWER Program

POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) is a congressionally funded initiative that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America's energy production. Projects should be related to at least one of the following investment priorities: building a competitive workforce, fostering entrepreneurial activities, industry cluster development, substance abuse response, and/or broadband deployment. The focus of ARC’s POWER Initiative for FY 2020 will continue to emphasize investments that are regional, strategic, and transformational and that maximize the economic revitalization of coal-impacted communities and regions. More information can be found at

The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the ARC’s POWER 2020 grant cycle was released on December 9th, 2019. We invite you to review the RFP and consider applying, or forward to any local government or non-profit organization that may be interested. I have attached a copy of the RFP as well as the required Letter of Intent form.

There are workshop opportunities for prospective applicants to obtain information on the POWER application process and to learn how to develop a strong application. The dates and locations of these workshops are included below. More information can be found on the ARC website.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - Ashland, KY

Register Now

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - Johnson City, Tennessee

Register Now

NC POWER Contact:

David McRae, ARC Grants Specialist

North Carolina Department of Commerce

919-814-4672    office

Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy

Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy

Program Description 

The Appalachian Regional Commission is accepting applications for the Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy (AEA) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This program is a free immersive learning experience specifically for rising seniors from the Region and includes room and board, transportation, activity fees, and student stipends. 

The Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy (AEA), to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 6-31, 2020, will support youth entrepreneurship and innovation across Appalachia. This new residential program, designed specifically for high school students enrolled in their senior year during the 2020-2021 school year, includes a curriculum focusing on mentorship from leading entrepreneurs and businesses in the Pittsburgh area, skill building, access to soft and hardware maker spaces, and connections to the ARC’s larger regional network. Throughout AEA, students will develop their own ideas and innovations in a team format and pitch their final ideas to their peers, business leaders, and investors for a chance to win seed funding. As part of AEA, all expenses associated with participation, including room and board and transportation are covered.

Students enrolled in AEA will also receive $600 stipend during the tenure of the program. This is the inaugural year for the Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy which is sponsored by ARC and is made possible by the Institute for Educational Leadership. More information and application materials for the Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy are available at Applications for AEA are due March 6, 2020.






The North Carolina ARC program collaborates with many federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and universities in the Appalachian region of the state. See below for links to partners' websites.

Federal Agencies

Non-profit Organizations

North Carolina Agencies

North Carolina Regional Councils

Public Universities in NC's Appalachian Region

Application Workshop

Application Workshop

Workshop information is not available at this time. Please check back for more information.