In order to improve project performance measurement, program evaluation, and economic impact analysis; and better track the results of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC’s) efforts to improve the economy and quality of life in Appalachia, EDR Group is currently developing an enhancement to the ARC-LEAP analysis tool to help measure and evaluate the performance of ARC funded projects. The goal of this project is to develop a consistent approach to measuring the effectiveness, as measured in terms of jobs, income and investment, of ARC’s grant programs to enhance regional economic growth through economic development, physical capital, human capital, and the Appalachian Development Highway System.
The work involves three steps:
1. Development of logical paths for linking intermediate program and project type specific outcomes to ultimate economic improvement;
2. Mining of program data in the ARCnet database and prior program evaluations, and the application of statistical analysis to establish relationships among grant project features, settings, implementation and outcome; and
3. Design and development of a program analysis platform, within the structure of ARC-LEAP analysis system.
The pilot application of this approach is focused on 14 years (1997-2010) of investments related to building broadband and other telecommunications capacity in the context of telemedicine, at-distance learning, and workforce training. This approach will next be applied to ARC’s human capital grant program to build workforce and educational capacity.