New class of 40 fellows represents public, private, and nonprofit sectors across Appalachia’s 13 states Washington, DC, September 26, 2023 — Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced the 40 fellows selected for the 2023-2024 Class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute (ALI), a free leadership and economic development training opportunity for individuals currently living and/or working in one of ARC’s 13 Appalachian states.

The 2023-2024 class comprises a diverse network of professionals representing all 13 Appalachian states and a wide spectrum of perspectives and sectors, including tourism, healthcare, education, civil service, and more. The nine-month curriculum is anchored by six multi-day seminars across the Appalachian Region, focusing on each of ARC’s strategic investment priorities, which aim to strengthen economic and community growth in Appalachia.

From October 2023 through July 2024, this class will focus on skill-building seminars and best practice reviews to prepare fellows to:

  • · Design effective economic development project proposals
  • · Integrate community assets into long-term economic development strategies
  • · Identify resources available to spark economic and community development
  • · Locate and access investment capital from a variety of public and private sources
  • · Prepare competitive applications for public grant opportunities
  • · Use expanded connections and leadership skills to create strong regional partnerships

“Growing and supporting the next generation of Appalachian leaders is integral to the future success of our region,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “I send my sincerest congratulations to the newest round of Appalachian Leadership Institute fellows, as well as my appreciation for all the work and passion they put into helping their communities thrive and compete.”

Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) works with ARC through the Center for Strategic Partnerships to identify potential ALI Fellows. Jennifer Lench, Pennsylvania’s ARC State Program Manager said, “We are excited for the new round of fellows and what they will contribute to Appalachia Pennsylvania. We are also pleased that one of our Local Development District professionals was selected to participate.”

The fifth class of Appalachian Leadership Institute fellows were selected via a competitive application process to reflect the Appalachian region’s wide range of economic development challenges, opportunities, and strategies. Elizabeth Lockwood, Director, Project Development/Grants, Economic Development Program, SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG), Lewisburg, was one of the 40 selected to participate. Lockwood said, “I’m honored to be chosen as one of the four Pennsylvanians to participate in this prestigious program and to have the opportunity to use the skills I learn to enhance community and economic development in the SEDA-COG 11-county region and Pennsylvania.”

“The Appalachian Leadership Institute supports leaders already doing amazing work across Pennsylvania and the entire Appalachian region,” said Kim Wheeler, SEDA-COG’s Executive Director. “This program capitalizes on the incredibly talented people who are already invested in these special communities. When we invest in our people, we’re building a brighter future for generations to come.”

To learn more about the program, visit: To meet the 2023-2024 class of fellows and learn more about how they are working to transform their Appalachian communities, visit this link.

About the Appalachian Leadership Institute
The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a comprehensive regional leadership training program developed by the Appalachian Regional Commission in partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact. Learn more at

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development entity of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 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. Learn more at

SEDA-COG is a community and economic development agency in Lewisburg and is one of seven Local Development Districts in Pennsylvania. SEDA-COG enhances the quality of life and economic advantage for residents and businesses in the 11 central Pennsylvania counties through its vital partnerships and initiatives.