The Program


The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a comprehensive leadership and economic development training opportunity for people who live and/or work in Appalachia and are passionate about helping their communities thrive. Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows participate in an extensive training curriculum developed by 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.

Meet the Class of 2019-2020

The all-inclusive, nine-month program runs from October – July and includes skill-building seminars and best practice reviews. The program is currently meeting virtually due to COVID, but normally includes field visits during six separate sessions across the Region, followed by a capstone graduation event held in Washington, DC.

The Appalachian Leadership Institute is limited to 40 Fellows annually, drawn from Appalachia’s public, private and non-profit sectors. Fellows are chosen via a competitive application process and each class includes representatives from each of the thirteen states in the ARC footprint to reflect the region’s diverse economic development challenges, opportunities, and strategies.

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

  • Design effective economic development project proposals

  • Integrate community assets into long-lasting 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

The Appalachian Leadership Institute includes:

  • Travel and participation cost to attend all sessions

  • Appalachian Leadership Institute Certificate from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

  • Access to a world class network of peers and other experts across Appalachia

Applications for the Appalachian Leadership Institute are currently closed. We will be accepting applications for the Class of 2021-2022 in Spring 2021.

Want to know more? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions or contact us at .


Appalachia is a 205,000-square-mile region that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi. It includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

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