FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Appalachian Regional Commission Names Susan McKinney as Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellow

Susan McKinney to Represent Tennessee in Intensive Regional Leadership Development Program

September 26, JOHNSON CITY, TN — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) named Susan McKinney, Executive Director of Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development Council to participate in the 2023-2024 class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, 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. The fourth class will run from October 2023 through July 2024, focusing 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.”

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.

 Upon completion of the program, McKinney will automatically become part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute Alumni Network, a peer-to-peer working group of experts helping foster collaborative solutions that will build a stronger future for Appalachia.

“It is an honor to represent the Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development Council and Northeast Tennessee in the Appalachian Leadership Institute,” said McKinney. “I look forward to the learning opportunity and to working with my fellow cohorts from across the thirteen states as we find new ways to address our local and regional challenges as well as to celebrate the unique experience of who we are as Appalachians.”

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. Please note, this page will not be active until after the 9/26 announcement.

 About the Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development Council: The Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development Council (ARCD) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization based in Johnson City, TN, serving the 6 counties of Northeast Tennessee. The mission of ARCD is to conserve natural resources and improve rural economies through community leadership and enhanced educational opportunities. Learn more at

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 Center for Public Policy; 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