A weekly email from the Appalachian Regional Commission
In the Region: A weekly snapshot of news, announcements, and other tidbits from the Appalachian Regional Commission
ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  August 16, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 32


Map: County Economic Status in Appalachia, Fiscal Year 2019
ARC County Economic Status Designation for Fiscal Year 2019 Now Available

ARC County Economic Status Designation for Fiscal Year 2019 Shows Change

81 Appalachian counties will be considered economically distressed in fiscal year 2019—a drop from 84 counties in fiscal year 2018, and the lowest number of Appalachian counties considered economically distressed in the past decade. This is according to ARC County Economic Status Designation FY 2019 which was publicly released today. Using a composite index, each ARC county is annually classified into one of five categories describing its economic status: distressed, at-risk, transitional, competitive, and attainment. The ARC County Economic Status Designation FY 2019 shows that 21 counties over Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee combined experienced a positive shift in their economic status. At the same time, 18 counties in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia have fallen, many of which are in the Region’s prime coal-producing areas.

A composite index informing the county designations draws on data from the most recent three-year average unemployment rate, poverty rates, and per capita market income level. Over the past three years, the average unemployment rate decreased across the Region, and the nation as a whole. However, between FY 2018–FY 2019, the nation improved at a slightly higher rate, widening the gap between the U.S. (5.4%) and Appalachia (6%). Meanwhile, although poverty rates in both Appalachia and the nation as a whole fell overall, Appalachia’s poverty rate continues to be higher than the nation as a whole in comparison by 1.6 percentage points. 

The ARC County Economic Status Designation FY 2019 is effective for the federal fiscal year, which runs October 1, 2018–September 30, 2019. This data helps determine ARC investment strategies and required match rates for the upcoming year. Additional information including data sets, interactive maps, and a detailed look at economic status at the census tract level is available on the ARC website.


Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13), Governor’s Office of Appalachia’s Jason Wilson, YBI’s Barb Ewing, ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas, and Eastgate Regional Council of Government’s Kathy Zook  present an ARC grant  to the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) in Youngstown, Ohio
Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13), Governor’s Office of Appalachia’s Jason Wilson, YBI’s Barb Ewing, ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas, and Eastgate Regional Council of Government’s Kathy Zook present an ARC grant  to the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) in Youngstown, Ohio

Advanced Manufacturing, Dental Access, and Workforce Development Highlighted in Ohio Tour

Today, ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas was in Ohio with U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan, Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel, and others to announce a $185,000 ARC investment in the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), an innovative leader in digital businesses and advanced manufacturing technologies. The grant, matched by Youngstown State University, will underwrite YBI’s purchase of sophisticated 3D printers and software as well as grinders, cutters, and other mechanical equipment necessary for additive manufacturing. Smaller and mid-size additive regional manufacturers who might not otherwise be able to afford them can make use of this equipment to grow their businesses. “Today’s announcement will help the Youngstown Business Incubator make the latest technology, equipment, and technical assistance available to Ohio’s smaller advanced manufacturing businesses,” said Thomas at the announcement event. “This, in turn, keeps the Region’s manufacturing sector competitive and strong.” As part of the announcement event, Thomas and other local leaders toured Tech Block Building Five, which is part of an active network of support systems, training centers, and other technical assistance providers in Youngstown servicing the area’s growing advanced manufacturing sector. Last year, as part of ARC’s POWER Initiative to diversify the Region’s coal-impacted communities, ARC invested $1 million in Youngstown State University’s vision for an advanced manufacturing training and education center to provide a unique environment for creative, entrepreneurial advanced manufacturing R&D, training, and education. 

The grant announcement was part of Thomas’ two-day swing through Ohio’s Jefferson, Columbiana, and Mahoning counties. The visit, organized by the Governor’s Office on Appalachia, the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA), and Eastgate Regional Council of Governments also included two roundtable discussions—one on manufacturing and energy workforce development issues, and the other on the petrochemical and shale industries—as well as stops at the Wellsville Intermodal Facility and the Youngstown Kitchen Incubator and Café. Thomas and others also spent time at the Eastern Gateway Community College’s (EGCC) Dental Training Program to see students train on new Nomad digital x-ray equipment which was purchased with ARC funds. The new equipment is also used for EGCC’s Give Kids a Smile program, which provided  free dental care access to over 50 children last year. “This is such a great opportunity for our students,” said Tammy Graham, Director of EGCC Dental Assisting Program. “It’s a big deal.” 


ARC Seeks Proposals for Research Studies on Access and Traffic Safety in Appalachia

ARC is soliciting proposals for two new research studies: one that will analyze traffic safety in Appalachia to foster an improved understanding of traffic safety issues and outcomes in the Region compared with the rest of the nation; and one that will examine access in the Region as the first phase of a larger study on access, isolation, and mobility that aims to help align economic development priorities and transportation investments in Appalachia. Proposals are due August 31. See the requests for proposals.


ARC Seeks Candidates for Two Open Positions

ARC is currently recruiting candidates for two positions: a public outreach communications specialist to develop and disseminate content supporting ARC's mission and programs, build digital-based communities, and expand ARC's public outreach to a broad audience of stakeholders and partners; and an administrative assistant to provide office and program support services. Complete position and application information is available on the ARC Job Opportunities page.


Grant Something to Smile about at EGCC, Herald-Star, Steubenville, Ohio
SHS Student, Teacher Attend Oak Ridge Summer Program, Starkville Daily News, Starkville, Mississippi
ARC Green-lights Funds for New Health Wagon Facility in Dickenson, Kingsport Times News, Kingsport, Tennessee
Local Funding Goes to New Ohio Roundabout, Herald-Dispatch, Huntington,  West Virginia
Figuring Out If 'Opportunity Zones' Can Revitalize Struggling Neighborhoods, Route Fifty


Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Opportunities Conference
Fairhope, Alabama
August 21–23

SOAR Summit 2018
Pikeville, Kentucky
August 30–31

Appalachia Works: ARC Annual Conference
Tupleo, Mississippi
September 12–14

Brushy Fork Annual Institute
Berea, Kentucky
September 18–20

National Brownfields Leadership Summit
Washington, DC
September 25–26

EntreEd Forum
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
September 28–30

7th TransTech Energy (TTE) Business Development Conference
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
October 23–24
Map of the Appalachian Region

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.
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Appalachian Regional Commission
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