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History of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia

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Governor’s Office of Appalachia
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 644-9228
(800) 848-1300
Fax (614) 752-4575

Twenty-one years after the creation of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in Washington, D.C., the Ohio Legislature created the Governor's Office of Appalachia to serve as an advocate for Ohio's Appalachian region. Ohio officials recognized that Appalachian Ohio needed a central office to coordinate its economic and community development and partnership endeavors.

Ohio's Appalachian region covers a vast portion of the state. The 32 Appalachian counties stretch south along the Ohio River and as far north as Lake Erie. The region's infrastructure connects businesses in Ohio's cities and townships with access to regional, national, and global markets. As established by the Ohio Revised Code §107.21, the Governor's Office of Appalachia represents the interests of the Appalachian region in state government, uniting, assisting, and representing Appalachian Ohio.

The Governor's Office of Appalachia and the Local Development Districts advise local groups and residents about possible funding sources and methods to address the issues facing the region. They act as liaisons to connect people and resources. The Governor's Office of Appalachia helps establish a strategy for the use of Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and state funding within Ohio. The Office's programs are designed to strengthen and prepare local communities for job growth through strategic investments in infrastructure and public facilities and to support programs that position the region for business attraction, retention, and expansion.

The 32 Appalachian counties, designated as Appalachian by the U.S. Congress are part of a region that needs the opportunity to accommodate future growth and development. The Appalachian Regional Commission provides support the counties need to develop local leadership and coordinate planning for public services, transportation, and other community facilities would be provided.

The Governor's Office of Appalachia is part of the effort to design programs and strategies compatible with the values and traditions of the counties in this region in order to enhance the quality of life for residents of the region. Working with companies, government entities, and nonprofit organizations throughout the Appalachian Region, the Office promotes economic and community development in Appalachian Ohio.

The mission of the Governor's Office of Appalachia is to support local, regional, state and federal initiatives allowing the people of Ohio's Appalachian region to attain economic prosperity.


Since its creation in 1986, the Governor's Office of Appalachia has worked to execute programs that enhance the economic opportunities in Ohio's Appalachian counties. Led by a director appointed by the Governor, the office works closely with Ohio's four Local Development Districts to identify and prioritize projects and leverage funds to implement projects.

The program staff of the Governor's Office of Appalachia is part of the Ohio Development Services Agency's (ODSA) Office of Community Development (OCD), and includes an outreach coordinator, two grant managers and an ARC program manager. The OCD staff provides day-to-day grant administration and program management support and technical assistance to grantees and to the Local Development Districts with the goal of improving the lives of residents in the Appalachian region.