Last updated: June 24. 2014 11:06AM - 246 Views

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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.



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

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

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