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SOAR summit to develop regional strategies for growth

Event is Feb. 16 in Pikeville

PIKEVILLE, Ky.  (Jan. 21, 2015) — The second annual Shaping Our Appalachian Region Summit will be held on Feb. 16 at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville.

This year’s summit, “Creating Our Future: Regional Strategies for Growth and Development,” will focus on implementing strategies for growth in Eastern Kentucky communities.

SOAR_Kentucky_logoGov. Steve Beshear and Rep. Hal Rogers launched the SOAR initiative a little over a year ago. Both will attend the Summit.

“This summit is about defining tactics—how do we get to our next goals in workforce readiness, in education, in health, in attracting business”and then identifying the groups or individuals who are committed to getting us there,” said SOAR executive director Jared Arnett. “Since the first Summit, more than 2,500 citizens concerned with our region have given input into our plan. Through the leadership of our Working Groups, we have developed a robust, detailed vision for our region, and I’m looking forward to collectively putting our plan to work this year.”

Arnett designed the summit’s sessions to delve into topics that have potential to grow communities or improve quality of life in the region, such as high-speed broadband, local food, rural industry and entrepreneurship.  Some speakers will represent other states or regions with successes that may be replicated in eastern Kentucky, while others will discuss work currently underway in the region.

Everyone who wants to be part of the SOAR Solution, including entrepreneurs, students, volunteers, non-profit employees, local government employees, parents, elected officials, employers, educators and community leaders, is invited to attend the second SOAR Summit.

The summit is designed to help citizens and community leaders:

  • learn how to work together with other organizations and communities to have collective impact while maintaining local identity
  • draw lessons from examples of success in communities who have taken this approach
  • network with local, regional, state, and federal officials along with private industry leaders
  • improve community competitiveness for state and federal grants

Cost is $10 by Feb. 11. Registration the day of the event is $15.