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ARC Fall Conference to Promote Creating Jobs from Appalachia’s Natural Assets

September 2006


WASHINGTON, September 21, 2006—Creating "new-generation jobs" from Appalachia's natural assets is the theme of the Appalachian Regional Commission's (ARC) 2006 annual conference, to be held October 11–13 in Pikeville, Kentucky. State and local economic development officials, chamber of commerce staff, business and community leaders, and interested citizens throughout Appalachia are invited to attend.

Hosted by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the conference will explore ways in which Appalachian communities can benefit from new approaches to creating jobs through asset-based economic growth.

In a joint statement, Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher and ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne B. Pope said that "participants will be challenged to consider the full potential of Appalachia's natural resources for job creation in sessions focusing on energy development, value-added agriculture, adventure tourism and land use, occupational development, and redevelopment in mine-impacted communities."

A highlight of the conference will be the unveiling of an "energy blueprint" for the Appalachian Region. Mandated at ARC's February 2006 governors' quorum meeting by the Appalachian governors and Pope, the blueprint will provide a strategic framework for the promotion of new energy-related job opportunities throughout the Region. It will also include an assessment of the current energy landscape and an examination of both non-renewable and renewable energy opportunities based on the competitive potential of Appalachia's energy resources and current and emerging technologies.

A keynote address will be given by Michael Kinsley, co-founder of the Economic Renewal Program at the Rocky Mountain Institute, on the topic "Strengthening the Economy while Respecting the Community and the Environment."

The conference will also include a session on a new ARC/USDA grant opportunity to provide support for value-added agriculture projects within the Appalachian Region. Presenters will highlight programs on aquaculture, organic food production, and kitchen incubators.