Community and Economic Development
Community and economic development planning through the Brooke-Hancock Regional Planning and Development Council (BH) is specific to West Virginia counties only. The Ohio Mid-Eastern Ohio Governmental Association covers similar matters in Ohio. The purpose of the West Virginia Planning program is “to assist communities throughout the region to realize long-term economic development.” Funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the United States Economic Development Administration (USEDA), BH oversees West Virginia Planning and Development Services through an adopted five-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).
Similar to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), BH is a performance-driven organization. By leveraging resources, securing partnerships and developing regional approaches to economic development BH will have the most impact in achieving economic/ job parity for the Region. BH continually evaluates regional economic progress and investment results, revises investment policies accordingly, and relies on clearly defined priorities and strategies.
The mission of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) aligns with BH’s diversification effort. The documented ARC mission is “to be a strategic partner and advocate for sustainable community and economic development in Appalachia.” USEDA’s stated mission is to “lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.” The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s investment policy is designed to establish a foundation for sustainable job growth and the building of durable regional economies throughout the United States. This foundation builds upon two key economic drivers – innovation and regional collaboration. Innovation is the key to global competitiveness, new and better jobs, a resilient economy, and the attainment of national economic goals. Regional collaboration is essential for economic recovery because regions are the centers of competition in the new global economy and those that work together to leverage resources and use strengths to overcome weaknesses will fare better than those that do not.This mission was reiterated in June 2010 when the ARC held a series of webinars to obtain citizen input for its six-year (2011–2016) strategic plan.
BH and its membership embrace all four of ARC’s general goals (Moving Appalachia Forward: Appalachian Regional Commission Strategic Plan). These goals are as follows.
- Increase job opportunities and per capita income to reach parity with the nation.
- Strengthen the capacity of the people of the region to compete in the global economy.
- Develop and improve the region’s infrastructure to make the region economically competitive.
- Build the Appalachian Development Highway System to reduce Appalachia’s isolation.