Home » SOAR Education and Retraining Working Group to host 6 public listening sessions

SOAR Education and Retraining Working Group to host 6 public listening sessions

Working to develop plans of action to present to SOAR executive committee

HAZARD, Ky. (June 25, 2014) — The Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Education and Retraining Working Group will host a series of six public listening sessions throughout July, beginning with a session in Hazard on Tuesday, July 8.

Jeff Whitehead, executive director of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program Inc. (EKCEP) serves as chair of the working group. Whitehead, along with 16 working group members, is working to develop three to five plans of action that will be presented to the SOAR executive committee this fall.

SOAR_Kentucky_logoThe Hazard session and others to follow in Manchester, Harlan, Pikeville, Morehead and Barbourville will give the public a chance to deliver input on these plans of action and ensure the suggestions are supported across the region, give the process an enlightened and experienced perspective.

The SOAR initiative was launched by Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) in late 2013 after a stunning downturn in the coal market exacerbated historic challenges in Eastern Kentucky. SOAR is intended to help the region develop and put into action new locally oriented strategies to attack persistent challenges of unemployment and poverty. A total of 10 working groups will be responsible for content development and public outreach over the summer.

The Education and Retraining Working Group is also executing an online public survey asking respondents to rank various proposed education and retraining action ideas aimed at improving the region’s ability to support and attract new and existing industry, create and foster innovation, and support an entrepreneurial movement throughout the region. The survey may be accessed through the following link, and input will be recorded now through the month of July: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/soaronlinesurvey

The public listening sessions listed below will also help identify regional assets in workforce development, education, and retraining that are already making strides in the region.




July 8-Hazard  

Kentucky Career Center JobSight

412 Roy Campbell Drive

Hazard, KY 41701


July 15-Manchester

EKU Manchester Campus-Room 109

50 University Dr.

Manchester, KY 40962


July 17-Harlan

Harlan County High School

4000 U.S. 119

Baxter, KY 40806


July 22-Pikeville

Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (Garfield House)

178 College Street

Pikeville, KY 41501


July 24-Morehead

Morehead State University

Adron Doran University Center (ADUC), Crager Room

E. 2nd St

Morehead, KY 40351


July 28-Barbourville

Union College-Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey Center

310 College St.

Barbourville, KY 40906