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SOAR awarded grant to expand remote work opportunities

Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to expand remote work opportunities in Eastern Kentucky.

The grant will support SOAR’s new project, Creating Opportunities for Digital Employment in Appalachia Kentucky, which will serve 15 organizations across 18 southeastern Kentucky counties.

The organization will use the funding to host three regional meetings, offering technical assistance to assist local communities in connecting available high-paying remote jobs to high-skilled workers across Eastern Kentucky.

The project will bring together state, local and federal officials; businesses; nonprofit organizations; educational institutions (K-12 and postsecondary); technical assistance providers; and individuals working at the grassroots level to attract or implement more remote work opportunities. SOAR will focus on last-mile broadband deployment, remote work community-level strategies to enhance awareness around employment opportunities, and marketing Eastern Kentucky as a remote work destination.

“SOAR continues to believe high-paying remote work is critical for economic revitalization in Eastern Kentucky. The jobs the region has sought for years have finally arrived—online. It’s time communities work together to connect these opportunities with our best and brightest workers to keep them home,” said SOAR Executive Director Colby Hall.

“Remote work opportunities provide a gateway to prosperity for individuals who cannot travel for work, and it has become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide innovative remote job opportunities,” said U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. “I applaud SOAR for planning their work and working their plan to advance job opportunities in our region despite the challenges we face. The ARC has been a loyal partner for economic development opportunities in Kentucky’s Appalachian region and I appreciate the commission’s continued tireless efforts to help us shape a brighter future in the mountains.”

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