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Tuskegee alumni applicants sought for Appalachian Leadership Institute fellowships

April 29, 2020

Wendy Wasserman, Appalachian Regional Commission
Tammy Laughlin, Tuskegee University Department of History and Political Science


ARC Institute - ALI Logo

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is now accepting applications for its second class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, a leadership and economic development training opportunity for community leaders who currently live and/or work in Appalachia. The institute — of which Tuskegee University is one of several university partners — is an extensive nine-month program focusing on skill-building, seminars, best practice reviews, mentoring and networking. The curriculum is anchored by six multi-day seminars followed by a capstone graduation.

Participating 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, and use expanded leadership skills to create strong coalitions.

Upon completion of the program, Fellows will automatically become part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute Network, a peer-to-peer working group committed to Appalachia’s future.

"The Appalachian Leadership Institute is an important opportunity for community leaders to build their skills, their credentials and their networks," said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. "Participants get access to important leaders from throughout the region and the country, and learn from Appalachian communities who have found leadership strategies that work. I highly recommend participation in this program."

Dr. Tammy Laughlin, an assistant professor of political science who also represents Tuskegee in this initiative, noted how the institute aligns with the university’s service and outreach missions. She emphasized that alumni living in Alabama and throughout the ARC’s 420-county service area have much to contribute to Appalachia’s collective economic development potential.

“We hope, through Tuskegee University’s involvement, that our alumni who live in the region will join in this effort,” Laughlin said. “Participation in this program by our alumni and other stakeholders will certainly help identify tangible economic development benefits for our entire region that, in turn, can be implemented further through the university’s outreach programs serving all of Alabama.”

The current class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute includes representatives from a variety of sectors and industries, such as education, health care, economic development, public service and other professions. Laughlin said that the institute is seeking a diverse pool of applicants — including persons from both skilled trades and non-traditional career paths.

“Tuskegee and our alumni have taken leading roles in their communities’ economic improvement since the university’s founding in 1881,” Laughlin noted. “Our alumni throughout the Appalachian region offer a unique perspective and skill set — attributes that would make an outstanding contribution for communities of color throughout areas the Appalachian Region Commission serves.”

ARC Institute - ARC Map
ARC Institute - ARC Map

The Appalachian Leadership Institute is limited to 40 Fellows annually, drawn from Appalachia’s public, private and nonprofit sectors. Fellows will be chosen via a competitive application to represent each of the 13 states in the ARC footprint — and to reflect the region’s diverse economic development challenges, opportunities and strategies. Individuals residing or working in the area spanning communities from southern New York to northern Alabama and Mississippi — including Alabama’s Macon County — are eligible to apply to be Fellows.

Applications are currently being accepted at through June 1, 2020. The 2020-21 Appalachian Leadership Institute will run from October 2020 through July 2021. Travel and other participation costs will be covered by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The Appalachian Regional Commission 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. ARC’s Appalachian Leadership Institute represents a partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact.

For more information about the Appalachian Leadership Institute, visit

© 2020, Tuskegee University; information sourced from the Appalachian Regional Commission