“Big Ideas Fest” featured speaker says Youngstown, OH had to look at assets and diversify after steel industry gone, like mining decline in Appalachia.
Jay Williams, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director of the Economic Development Administration, compared similar efforts to rebuild his hometown – Youngstown, OH, where the steel industry cratered in the 1970s – with the exciting developments he sees throughout central Appalachia. “You have convened the stakeholders that are essential. The solutions are on the ground, right here in east Kentucky,” he told the crowd of over 200 people attending the first “Big Ideas Fest: Education, Workforce, and Economic Development” in Hazard, KY, on September 16, 2016. Another 250 persons from eight states watched the broadcast live. The KY Valley Educational cooperative (KVEC) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) sponsored the conference which can be viewed in its entirety in early October on The Holler.