Goal 1. Broadband

Goal 1. Broadband

Goal: 

Increase the availability of affordable high-speed broadband, through fiber, to businesses and residents; and increase adoption rates throughout the SOAR region

Objectives:

  1. Complete the construction of the middle-mile effort, KentuckyWired, while involving existing local internet service providers in the process

  2. Generate immediate local economic activity by facilitating career pathway training opportunities for displaced workers to be retrained into the fiber installation and maintenance industry to support the deployment of fiber throughout the region

  3. Support the development of community-based strategic plans to determine the best method to improve broadband availability and affordability in their community by partnering with KentuckyWired (Last-Mile Action Team)

  4. Ensure stakeholders working in the region understand and work collectively to increase the high economic impact uses of broadband including remote work opportunities and eCommerce

  5. Develop and implement a structured approach to last mile development in the SOAR region (Last-Mile Action Team)

Goal 2. 21st Century Workforce

Goal 2. 21st Century Workforce

Goal:

Develop our regional workforce to be competitive in the digital economy and other emerging industries

Objectives:

  1. Strengthen employer-led training and education efforts to provide clear paths to jobs including reciprocal relationships with national/global employers that employ a remote workforce

  2. Leverage public-private partnerships to create short and long-term training programs supporting industries primed for growth such as: Telecommunications (specifically fiber), Healthcare, Energy, Machinists, and the Digital Economy

  3. Invest in programs across the K-16 education continuum that increase access to training and career pathways related to STEAM skills, digital economy skill sets, agribusiness and other emerging technologies

  4. Develop modern co-working facilities that can also serve as business innovation hubs

  5. Improve access to employment training/retraining programs for low-wage/unemployed individuals

3. Small Business in the Digital Economy

3. Small Business in the Digital Economy

Goal:

To create more and expand existing small businesses within the region by taking full advantage of the digital economy


Objectives:

  1. Focus assistance to support expanded market expansion opportunities for existing companies via the digital economy including e-commerce and export\

  2. Strengthen entrepreneurial education, including K-16, and the promotion of successful entrepreneurs within the region

  3. Increase the network density of small business owners and/or entrepreneurs through social networks (digital or physical)

  4. Improve awareness and usage of existing and expand availability of business resources, technical assistance, equity capital, and other assistance programs

  5. Create and expand opportunities for entrepreneurs to competitively pitch ideas for monetary awards

4. Healthy Communities

4. Healthy Communities

Goal:

To reduce the physical and economic impact of obesity, diabetes, and substance abuse

Objectives:

  1. Implement innovative evidence‐based programs to address regional health disparities in access, quality of care, and health outcomes

  2. Strengthen community partnerships and collaborations with stakeholders to increase focus on health and disease prevention throughout the region

  3. Reduce the scope and impact of substance abuse and related consequences through education, awareness, prevention and access to services

  4. Increase access to healthy, affordable foods and opportunities for physical activity

5. Industrial Development

5. Industrial Development

Goal:

 Increase the amount of industrial employment which includes manufacturing, natural resources, processing, and distribution by expanding existing companies and attracting new ones

Objectives:

  1. Develop strategies for targeted sectors, identified by a third-party professional, for recruitment, expansion, and workforce development

  2. Support the continued development of regional and/or public-private partnerships to drive industrial development in the region

  3. Increase industrial demand of skilled trade workers (construction, electricians, HVAC, welding, plumbing) and the availability of fast-track certification programs for experienced workers

  4. Improve the economic competitiveness of most viable (based upon objective third-party professional analyses) sites and buildings in Appalachia Kentucky

  5. Provide resources to transition established businesses to value added chains and/or connect them with new markets both outside of their existing industry and in the global marketplace

  6. Collect and positively communicate detailed data on the workforce in the region

  7. Support value added opportunities for extractive industries including, but not limited to: coal, natural gas, oil, and forestry

6. Regional Food Systems

6. Regional Food Systems

Goal:

Create a local foods movement by connecting local producers to markets for their products both within and outside the region

Objectives:

  1. Increase the amount of locally sourced food served in institutional food service (schools, jails, colleges, hospitals), restaurants, and commercial grocers.

  2. Start new and support the expansion of existing value-added agricultural businesses including processing, warehousing, distribution, etc

  3. Improve access to locally sourced food through the development of modern community-based farmer’s markets.

  4. Increase the competitiveness of local products and connect local producers to markets outside the region

7. Regional Tourism Development

7. Regional Tourism Development

Goal:

Establish Kentucky's Appalachian region as a tourism destination

Objectives:

  1. Support tourism projects that leverage existing assets to create attraction/destination based economic activity through private businesses such as theme parks, resorts, ATV Trails, etc.

  2. Improve regional branding and marketing efforts increase awareness and demand for recreational activities

  3. Increase demand for local arts and crafts by improving availability and visibility of products from our region

  4. Invest in redevelopment of downtown spaces that focus on arts, heritage, and entertainment to improve the quality of place

  5. Build upon regional assets that create unique identities for communities

  6. Develop or facilitate training pathways for careers in the hospitality industry to prepare the region to leverage increased tourism demand for economic growth