ATI Meeting and ARDI Update

Over forty representatives of organizations from around the Central Appalachian region met at Jenny Wiley State Park on July 1 to continue conversations about a homegrown, Appalachian transition—a transition away from an economy dependent on fossil fuels and towards a diverse economy that celebrates the resources and talent so rich in the region.

The meeting provided a chance for groups promoting green jobs in West Virginia to learn from the experience of those in eastern Kentucky working to recruit the region’s youth to stay put in an effort to combat the brain drain afflicting so many rural areas across the country, among many other exciting efforts.

One of the presentations attendees heard was an update on the Appalachian Regional Development Initiative (ARDI) from USDA and ARC agency staff members.A coordinated effort to cooperate across agencies – including USDA, Department of Commerce, Department of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Small Business Administration – is being conducted; ARC staff hopes that a formal memorandum of understanding delineating responsibilities among agencies will be in place in the coming weeks.Staff members from both USDA and ARC stressed the need to work within their respective organizations to both assess and address the needs of Appalachians, as well as to improve the delivery of existing services.A Federal Working Group has been created to do just that.The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) will also be involved in these efforts, and is working with the USDA to develop an action plan for long-term and short-term diversification, as well as to promote the health and well-being of communities across the Appalachian region.

Perhaps the highlight of the daylong meeting was the opportunity to hear directly from groups working on the ground on projects that individually seek to add up to a collective effort to support the region’s transition.Profiles of these efforts will be available on this website in the coming weeks.As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback on these and other efforts to support a transition in our region.

For more information on ARDI, click here.
Kristin Tracz

About Kristin Tracz

Kristin Tracz served MACED’s Research and Policy team from 2009-2012 working on clean energy policy, energy efficiency programs and the Appalachian Transition Initiative. She joined MACED after finishing her Master of Environmental Management degree at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She now lives and works in Washington, DC.