BRIGHT Kentucky is a free training program building developed by the Leadership Kentucky Foundation to expand capacity of next-generation economic development leaders in the state’s 54 Appalachian counties. Made possible through support from ARC, The Kentucky Department of Local Government, the Whitaker Foundation, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), and others, program participants range in age from 21-40 and represent a variety of public and private sectors including banking, education, advocacy, health, communications, and hospitality. The curriculum includes five, three-day sessions on communication, collaboration, consensus building, visioning, and community engagement to strengthen the local economy. The first BRIGHT class graduated in 2019.
“Eastern Kentucky has long deserved a program where leaders from within are trained to think critically on issues facing the region and to work together to identify solutions to these problems,” said Colby Kirk, a 2019 BRIGHT leader from Harlan County. “The people graduating from this program and the projects taking off have the power to change Eastern Kentucky forever.”