Big Ideas Fest Attracted over 200 Eastern Kentuckians


21st September, 2016






Education and Training


Big Ideas Fest Attracted over 200 Eastern Kentuckians

Over 200 persons attended the first “Big Ideas Fest: Education, Workforce, and Economic Development” in Hazard, KY. on September 16, 2016. Another 250 persons from eight states watched the broadcast live event.

The KY Valley Educational cooperative (KVEC) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) sponsored the conference which can be viewed in its entirety in early October on the

K-12 students joined Jay Williams, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director of the Economic Development Administration and KY Secretary of Education and Workforce Cabinet Hal Heiner as speakers and panelists. Business, educational, political and community leaders, youth, and interested citizens explored and shared ideas building the New Economy/Creative Economy, promoting entrepreneurism, and expanding local businesses.

The theme of the event was “growing the economy through innovation, entrepreneurism, and collaboration” showcased work in K-12 schools and throughout the region.

The panels included: Using technology and education to grow the economy; Tiny Houses and housing for job creation; Art in community and economic development; Business/ entrepreneurs – so you want to start or grow your business; Agriculture/aqua-culture – Growing foods and fish to grow jobs and communities; Tourism – Using our natural resources and talents to grow the economy; Youth, Technology and Entrepreneurism; and organizations promoting entrepreneurism throughout the region (Kevin Loux (SOAR), Sandi Curd (Promise Zone), Dr. David Snow (KY Innovation Network – Pikeville); Jerry Rickett (KY Highlands Investment Corp)and, and. Paul Wright (MACED).

Over 30 organizations and institutions participated in the event. A conference report will be prepared in October. For more information contact

KVEC is the oldest K-12 cooperative in the Commonwealth and presently serves 19 school districts in 14 counties.