"A nation’s human capital endowment embodies the knowledge and skills residing in individuals, which empowers them to create economic value. Human capital must be invested in and leveraged in order to generate returns for people, places and the economy. Human capital is critical to  the productivity of society and to the functioning of its political,  social and civic institutions. Therefore, understanding its current state and capacity is valuable to a wide variety of stakeholders."  

(World Economic Forum)

In the context of our current work in the Appalachian Region, we define human capital as the collective knowledge, skills, attitude, character and other assets residing in human beings, which empowers them to create economic opportunity for themselves and for the businesses, industries, communities and counties located in the 13 states and 420 counties that compose the Appalachian Region.