CREC Project News and Updates

CREC to Examine 50-year Impact of Appalachian Regional Commission

February 6, 2014

On the cusp of celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has enlisted the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) to assess and highlight its impact on the 13-state region it serves.

With a grant of nearly $300,000, a three-agency collaborative will conduct an economic analysis of the ARC’s work, providing a narrative of the region’s progress since 1965. The project team consists of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC), a nonprofit research organization based in Arlington, Virginia, and two West Virginia University research units: the Regional Research Institute (RRI) and the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). It marks the second project collaboration between CREC and the ARC.

“It’s an ambitious project and a cornerstone of the ARC’s retrospective look at its first 50 years,” said Dr. Ken Poole, Founder and President of CREC. “We look forward to working with West Virginia University to create a multifaceted and comprehensive assessment of the ARC’s impact on the lives of people in the Appalachian Region.”

The team brings together nationally recognized expertise in regional quantitative and economic impact analysis, economic development policy design and implementation, economic development program evaluation, and local and regional economic development strategic planning. All of the senior researchers on the team also have direct experience working in Appalachia as well as in rural and distressed communities elsewhere.

Specifically, the project will examine socioeconomic trends in Appalachia, analyze the economic impacts of numerous ARC economic development programs, and determine the perceptions of local stakeholders regarding past impacts and future directions of ARC programs. Statistics show that 42 percent of the region’s population is rural, compared with 20 percent of the national population.

Work on the project is expected to conclude in the fall of this year, coinciding with ARC’s 50th Anniversary.

For further information, contact Greg Roth, Director of Communications, Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, at groth@crec.net or 703.504.2868.

About the partners

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.

The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) is an independent, not-for-profit organization founded to provide policy-makers from around the world with the information and technical assistance they need to formulate and execute innovative, regional, job-creating economic strategies.

The Regional Research Institute (RRI) at West Virginia University (WVU) promotes scholarly research focusing on theories and history of regional development, methods for studying regions, and policies for stimulating their development.

The Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) at West Virginia University (WVU) provides the state’s business and policymaking communities with reliable data and rigorous applied economic research and analysis that enables the state’s leaders to design better business practices and public policies.