Area Development Program
To invest in two general areas: critical infrastructure and business and workforce development. Critical infrastructure investments mainly include water and wastewater systems, transportation networks, broadband, and other projects anchoring regional economic development. Business and workforce investments primarily focus on entrepreneurship, worker training and education, food systems, leadership, and other human capital development.
Applicant and/or Project Eligibility Requirements
Applicants must be in an eligible Appalachian county across the 13-state region: https://www.arc.gov/Appalachian-counties-served-by-arc/
ARC project guidelines emphasize the following goals: 1) economic opportunity, 2) ready workforce, 3) critical infrastructure, 4) natural and cultural assets, and 5) leadership and community capacity. Communities should consider projects aligned with their local and ARC strategic goals that reduce emissions, increase community resiliency, and/or create new opportunities for workforce training in a clean energy economy. ARC guidelines specifically highlight that funding can support elements of the project that improve a project's energy efficiency, but communities should think expansively and work with their state representative to incorporate energy local renewable energy, energy storage, building weatherization and electrification, and increased multi-modal access.
This program helps communities recover from declines in coal and manufacturing sectors and transition to new industries. In addition, a state may also use a portion of its ARC Area Development allocation to fund job-training and skills development, which could support the growth of a clean energy workforce. The ARC may prioritize its funding and match rates based on levels of economic distress: https://www.arc.gov/match-requirements-for-arc-grants/
Consider whether the project will improve, on a continuing rather than a temporary basis, the opportunities for employment, the average level of income, or the economic and social development of the area served by the project. To receive ARC approval, a project must implement the Development Plan of the Appalachian State in which it is located and it must have been identified by the state in its annual Strategy Statement.
For additional information on program priorities and guidelines, visit: https://www.arc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ARCProjectGuidelines.pdf