Skip to Main Content

Appalachian Regional Commission: The Appalachian Regional Commission

About the ARC

On April 9, 1963 President John F. Kennedy established the President's Appalachian Regional Commission (PARC) and appointed them with the responsibility of creating legislation which would increase economic development of the Appalachian Region. PARC enacted the Appalachian Regional Development Act (ARDA) which created the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the ARDA into law on March 9, 1965 making the ARC an official federal agency. 

"ARC's mission is to be a strategic partner and advocate for sustainable community and economic development in Appalachia.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the president. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts.

ARC funds projects that address the four goals identified in the Commission's strategic plan:

  • Increase job opportunities and per capita income in Appalachia to reach parity with the nation.
  • Strengthen the capacity of the people of Appalachia to compete in the global economy.
  • Develop and improve Appalachia's infrastructure to make the Region economically competitive.
  • Build the Appalachian Development Highway System to reduce Appalachia's isolation.

Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred projects in the Appalachian Region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing, and transportation. These projects create thousands of new jobs; improve local water and sewer systems; increase school readiness; expand access to health care; assist local communities with strategic planning; and provide technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses." (1)

(1) "About ARC," Appalachian Regional Commission, access date February 18, 2014,

ARC Publications

The ARC publishes documents related to projects, legislation, and budgets. These documents are to record information about ARC projects and inform others about the inner workings of ARC.


Appalachia: Turning Assets into Opportunities     


Appalachia: Turning Assets into Opportunities





Appalachia Forward: ARC Strategic Plan, 2011–2016


Moving Appalachia Forward: Appalachia Regional Commission Strategic Plan, 2011 - 2016
Vol. 21, No. 1 Winter 1988 Appalachia
Cover of Vol. 21, No. 1 Winter 1988 Appalachia
Digital copies of Appalachia from 1996 - 2008 are available at the ARC Appalachia digital archive website.

ARC Projects

"Projects in recent years have focused on business development, telecommunications and technology infrastructure and use, educational attainment, access to health care, tourism development, and the construction of development highways and basic water and waste management facilities." (2)

The ARC develops projects in a variety of areas while reserving particular resources for counties deemed economically distressed. Program areas include health, tourism, education, and transportation. To learn more about these program areas and others please visit the ARC Program Areas webpage.

(2) "ARC Projects," Appalachian Regional Commission, access date February 20, 2014,

Mock-up of ARC Brochure

The original of this brochure mock-up is available in the John D. Whisman Papers in Box 71, folder 1125.


ARC sketch


ARC defined

Appalachia: Past and Future, Appalachian Regional Commission, 1965-2010, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center

JFK visits WV

Appalachia: Past and Future, Appalachian Regional Commission, 1965-2010, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center