What's happening with Appalachian Transition | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

What's happening with Appalachian Transition

The public conversation about the urgent need to shape a just economic transition in eastern Kentucky is evolving fast. KFTC will offer a webinar on Monday, January 27, at 7 pm EST/6 pm CST to discuss recent developments related to Appalachian Transition. Details can be found here.

And here’s a brief summary and links to recent, related news stories.


Last week, the state released the first report on the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Summit hosted by Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers in December. The report included all 600 suggestions submitted at the summit and online, as well as observations including:

  • There is a crisis, people know it, and they are ready to act.
  • The region knows its economy must be diversified.
  • Folks want the dialogue deepened and broadened.

The report is not a plan or set of recommendations. That document will come later. You can read the full report on the SOAR summit here.


Expanding broadband was a key theme of the SOAR summit, and last week Congress directed $10 million to expand broadband access in Appalachian counties. Read more about the SOAR report and broadband expansion here.

Mountain Parkway

Another key theme of the SOAR summit was widening the Mountain Parkway, and last week Governor Steve Beshear proposed a six-year, $753-million project to widen the parkway to four lanes from Campton to Prestonsburg. KFTC member Dee Davis and our ally MACED are quoted in this article about the parkway.

Promise Zones

Also in January, President Obama announced that 8 counties in eastern Kentucky would be one of five Promise Zones across the country. The designation will give the region priority in applying for federal funding to increase job training, access to affordable housing, educational opportunities, and more. Read more about the Promise Zones here.

“If the resources from the federal government through the Promise Zone will coordinate with things like the SOAR Initiative and other existing and future programs, we may begin to see some steps toward the change the people of eastern Kentucky have been ready for and working toward,” said KFTC member Elizabeth Sanders after the announcement.


Kentucky was also named one of four StrikeForce states by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which will mean increased access to the USDA’s programs targeting rural poverty. Read more here.

Toward a just transition

KFTC members have shared with state and local leaders a set of 14 policies and ideas that members believe can help build a just economy and a bright future for eastern Kentucky. You can read the full set here.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.