Kostas Skordas, director of the Division of Regional Planning and Research of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in Washington, D.C. will provide an overview of the report “Economic Progress and Challenges in the Appalachian Region Since 1965” at a workshop during the Northern Appalachian Folk Festival on September 12, 2015.
Founded in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s “War on Poverty,” the ARC is a federal agency that provides resources to local communities for the economic development of the Appalachian Region.
ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl noted some of the significant improvements described in the report: The Appalachian Region has gone from 295 high-poverty counties in 1960 to 107 today. The region’s high school graduation rates have increased to being almost on par with the nation’s, infant mortality has plummeted, availability of potable water has gone up, and more than 2,000 miles of new highways have been built and opened since President Johnson made his historic 1964 visit to Martin County, Kentucky. The challenge going forward is to use the region’s assets: a history of hard work, innovative solutions to complex problems, and strong families and communities to leverage today’s emerging economic opportunities into a diverse and vibrant economic future.
“Pennsylvania is pleased that with assistance from ARC, our 52 Appalachian counties have realized progress over the past 50 years,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “I want to continue our efforts to improve the quality of life and provide necessary infrastructure and resources for our Appalachian citizens and businesses. We still have significant work left to do to reduce poverty, improve access to education, and create better economic security for these communities.”
The research report quantifies and documents changes to Appalachia over the past 50 years, evaluates ARC’s contribution to the region’s economic development during this time period, and assesses the extent to which Appalachia remains a region apart relative to the rest of the United States.
Skordas will discuss the report at a workshop during the folk festival at the Coventry Inn on Saturday, September 12, at 1:00 p.m. Researchers, elected officials, and the general public are encouraged to attend this free event. The workshop is being sponsored by Indiana Regional Medical Center.
Find more information online about the Northern Appalachian Folk Festival, including a full schedule of workshops.
Center for Northern Appalachian Studies