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Investing in Appalachia's Youth Conference

October 2014

An Appalachian Regional Commission Conference
Hosted by the State of Alabama

October 8-9, 2014
Marriott Shoals Hotel
Florence, Alabama

Twitter: #ARCYouth2014


Many communities in Appalachia, especially those in rural areas, are facing the impacts of high rates of youth outmigration: the loss of potential workers, business owners, community leaders, and parents of the next generation. The Appalachian Regional Commission's October 2014 Investing in Appalachia's Youth conference focused on strategies communities can use to engage their young people and build a stronger future. Access to high-quality educational and employment opportunities are critical factors, but empowering young people to strengthen their involvement with the community is also key to success.

Conference sessions focused on critical strategies for reversing youth outmigration, including:

  • Developing effective youth leadership programs that expose young people to community issues and teach leadership skills;
  • Using new technology and media to reach and engage young residents;
  • Empowering young people to serve their communities by becoming actively involved in current issues;
  • Guiding students towards careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics;
  • Incorporating entrepreneurial learning and support into all levels of the education system;
  • Teaching business skills to young people in the creative sectors; and
  • Creating communities young people will want to work and live in.
Presentation materials and videos from the conference are available below..

Conference Program
PDF: 509 KB

Conference Videos
Complete video playlist

Welcome: Jim Byard Jr., Director, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

Opening Remarks: ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl

Keynote Address: Kim Phinney, Senior Director of Rural and Tribal Initiatives, YouthBuild USA, Westford, Vermont

Concurrent Session: New Business: Youth + Entrepreneurship
Moderator: Suzanne Fuller Harbin, Director of Advancement, Wallace State Community College, Hanceville, Alabama. Panelists: Laurie Daugherty, Executive Director, Governor's School for Entrepreneurs, and Associate Vice President, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, Lexington, Kentucky; Miles Smith, Participant, Ohio–West Virginia Youth Leadership Association, Beckley, West Virginia.

From Our View: Young Appalachians Roundtable
Moderator: William Schumann, Director, Center for Appalachian Studies, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina. Panelists: Joshua Bell, Physician, Lakeside Clinic, Guntersville, Alabama; Brandon Dennison, Executive Director, Coalfield Development Corporation, Wayne, West Virginia; Lucy Johnson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

Concurrent Session Presentations
Presentations are posted with the permission of conference speakers. This list does not include all presentations given at the conference.

  • New Opportunities: Youth + Tomorrow's Jobs
    Craig Clark, Executive Director and Dean of Applied Technology, Wellsville Campus, Alfred State College, Wellsville, New York
    PDF: 522 KB

    Erin Hildreth, Director of Programs, Central New York Area Health Education Center, Cortland, New York
    PDF: 1.3 MB

    Sammy Lowdermilk, Program Director, Tennessee Code Academy, Chattanooga, Tennessee
    PDF: 4.9 MB

    Kostas Skordas, Director, Regional Planning and Research Division, Appalachian Regional Commission, Washington, D.C.
    PDF: 524 KB

  • New Business: Youth + Entrepreneurship
    Laurie Daugherty, Executive Director, Governor's School for Entrepreneurs, and Associate Vice President, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, Lexington, Kentucky
    PDF: 456 KB

  • New Voices: Youth + Engagement
    Aidil Ortiz Hill, Team Lead, Substance Abuse Prevention, Youth Empowered Solutions, Raleigh, North Carolina
    PDF: 2.8 MB

  • New Giving: Youth + Philanthropy + Volunteerism
    Sarah Cordonier, Former Intern, Civic Leaders Fellowship Program, Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, Parkersburg, West Virginia
    PDF: 806 KB

    Ethan Hamblin, AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, Chavies, Kentucky
    Presentation PDF: 251 KB
    Handout PDF: 65 KB

    Marian Royston, Mitchell Scholar, Macon County Youth Mentoring Program, Roanoke, Alabama
    PDF: 1 MB