A-B Tech’s Cooper Selected for Appalachian Leadership Institute

Philip Cooper, UpSkill WNC Coordinator at A-B Tech, was selected for the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Appalachian Leadership Institute for 2020-2021, which is a comprehensive leadership and economic development training opportunity for people who are passionate about helping their communities thrive.

“I am honored to have been selected as 1 of 40 Change Agents, for the Appalachian Leadership Institute,” Cooper said.  “I am determined to bring authenticity to the table and establish genuine partnerships that will lead to more resources for the underserved.”

The Appalachian Leadership Institute is limited to 40 Fellows annually, drawn from Appalachia’s public, private and non-profit sectors. Fellows are chosen via a competitive application process and each class includes representatives from each of the thirteen states in the ARC footprint to reflect the region’s diverse economic development challenges, opportunities, and strategies.

"Leadership is always about helping others move up. I was pleased to submit Philip’s name for this opportunity and very proud that he was accepted. He has important work to do in the community and this will help him tremendously,” said Deborah Wright Vice President, Economic and Workforce Development and Continuing Education.

The all-inclusive, nine-month program runs from October until July and includes skill-building seminars and best practice reviews. The program is currently meeting virtually due to COVID, but normally includes field visits during six separate sessions across the Region, followed by a capstone graduation event held in Washington, DC.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal and state government. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia. Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the president. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts.

Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred investments in the Appalachian Region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing, and transportation. These projects create thousands of new jobs; improve local water and sewer systems; increase school readiness; expand access to health care; assist local communities with strategic planning; and provide technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses.