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.
The 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.
Note: Survey instructions should be closely followed so that individual responses will be accurately recorded.
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.
ALL LISTENING SESSIONS WILL BE HELD FROM 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Kentucky Career Center JobSight
412 Roy Campbell Drive
Hazard, KY 41701
EKU Manchester Campus-Room 109
50 University Dr.
Manchester, KY 40962
Harlan County High School
4000 U.S. 119
Baxter, KY 40806
Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (Garfield House)
178 College Street
Pikeville, KY 41501
Adron Doran University Center (ADUC), Crager Room
E. 2nd St
Morehead, KY 40351
Union College-Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey Center
310 College St.
Barbourville, KY 40906