Innovate, Partner, Invest to Strengthen Rural Appalachia Ohio
The 13-state Appalachian region is defined as a 205,000 square mile area that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from the southern tier of New York to northern Mississippi. With the goal of bringing the region to socioeconomic parity with the rest of the nation, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has focused investments into fundamental community and economic development needs, including basic infrastructure, education, job training, health care, entrepreneurship, and capital market development.
Ohio is home to 32 Appalachian counties and bolsters federal ARC funding with a matching state investment. Within this region, four Appalachian Ohio Local Development Districts (LDDs), organize community-driven projects and target funds for distribution from federal and state partners to ensure positive movement toward the mission of the ARC: to bring the region to socioeconomic parity.
The LDDs most important role is to identify the priority needs of their local communities. To ensure that funds are used effectively and efficiently, and to strengthen local participation, Ohio’s project selection process includes a grassroots approach through which local governments prioritize both the state and federal investments across the region for the greatest regional impact.
In 2019, the priorities identified to be most beneficial to rural Appalachia communities were to focus on broadband access, quality healthcare, poverty and unemployment.
The Ohio LDDs working in Appalachia include Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC) serving southern Ohio, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments serving the northeastern region, Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) serving the Mideastern region, and Buckeye Hills Regional Council serving southeastern Ohio.