Philip Cooper, UpSkill WNC Coordinator at A-B Tech, was selected for the 2020-2021 Appalachian Regional Commission’s Appalachian Leadership Institute, 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 one of forty 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 nonprofit sectors. Fellows are chosen via a competitive application process, and each class includes representatives from each of the 13 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 comprised 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.
A-B Tech Community College
Founded in 1959 in the heart of Asheville, A-B Tech is the largest higher education institution in Western North Carolina, serving more than 23,000 students a year in Buncombe and Madison counties. One of 58 community colleges in the NC Community College System, A-B Tech offers more than 120 degrees, diplomas and certificates, as well as a wide range of workforce training and continuing education programs. Now celebrating its 60th year, A-B Tech includes the main Asheville campus, A-B Tech Enka (home of the A-B Tech Small Business Center and Business Incubation Program, Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast and N.C. BioNetwork), A-B Tech Madison, A-B Tech South, and A-B Tech Woodfin.
Learn more at abtech.edu.