Since 1965, when it was first established by Congress, the focus of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has been to foster the economic development of Appalachia. The mission of ARC is to be a strategic partner and advocate for sustainable community and economic development in Appalachia. The ARC is a planning, research, advocacy and funding organization; it does not have any governing powers within the region.
ARC undertakes projects that address the four goals identified by ARC in its strategic plan:
- Increase job opportunities and per capita income in Appalachia to reach parity with the nation.
- Strengthen the capacity of the people of Appalachia to compete in the global economy.
- Develop and improve Appalachia's infrastructure to make the region economically competitive.
- Build the Appalachian Development Highway System to reduce Appalachia's isolation.