BENHAM, Ky. (WYMT) - Dozens gathered in Harlan County at the Benham Schoolhouse Inn to focus on ways to better the future of Appalachia. The Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition (KSEC) invited members of the community to come out and get training as well as share what they want the future of the region to look like. Those who attended the KSEC Solutions Summit said that it is no secret that there are areas of Appalachia that need revitalization and economic growth.
“Corbin's had a revitalize main street movement with the restaurants, we would like to see that everywhere,” said Jon Johnson, a KSEC member and Eastern Kentucky native. “We really think that we as young people, we have the opportunity, we have the knowledge, and we have the passion to create our own future.”
Others who helped host the event said that the training people get helps them build a better Appalachia.
“Basically we're giving them the skills they need through this workshop to go out and go and recognize what a just transition looks like,” said Allison Crawford, KSEC’s Communications and Development Director.
One of the main talking points during the event was how building a better and fair economy for workers, communities and the environment could help the region.
“It takes a long time to set up an economy that is going to be just for everyone,” said Crawford. “The future of Appalachia is one where young people can feel like they can stay.”
Crawford said setting up better economies, gives people a reason to come live in the area and keep those around who are originally from the area.