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ARC-Hosted Roundtable Examines Opportunities, Strategies for Eastern Kentucky’s Technology Workforce

March 2015


On March 4, ARC hosted a roundtable gathering of workforce and technology leaders that examined eastern Kentucky's technology workforce opportunities, resources, and development strategies to identify strengths in the effort to build a competitive workforce that can help diversify Appalachian Kentucky's economy. Recognizing the prominent role community colleges play in workforce preparation, the roundtable focused on steps community colleges are taking to capitalize on technology workforce opportunities in the region, as well as the roles other partners can play in developing the technology workforce to help increase employment.

Held at Southeast Community and Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky, the roundtable discussion built on the SOAR initiative's ongoing regional conversation about strengthening Appalachian Kentucky's economy. ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl led the discussion, which was guided by the following key questions:

  • What are the technology-related emerging economic opportunities in Appalachian Kentucky? Where are the opportunities for significant employment growth? What kinds of workforce skills will be required to take advantage of them?
  • What is the role of community colleges in helping communities seize these opportunities?
  • What resources are currently being deployed to prepare a competitive technology workforce for the region?
  • How can the TAACCCT grant funds recently awarded to a consortium of six Kentucky community colleges be used to advance this agenda?
  • What innovative approaches to technology workforce training are emerging? What are the key elements that make them successful?
  • How can improved broadband access enhance these efforts?
  • What are the major barriers to having a competitive technology workforce in Appalachian Kentucky?

Roundtable participants included workforce and technology leaders from local, state, and federal government; community and technical colleges; and development organizations; as well as representatives of Kentucky's congressional members.