Leaders gather for first economic development training for the region

Published: Sep. 7, 2017 at 6:13 PM EDT
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Nearly 50 elected officials and community members from across the Eastern Kentucky region participated in a training session which could help bring businesses and industry to the region.

The training session was hosted by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) out of Washington D.C. Perry County Economic Development Executive Director Tonita Goodwin told WYMT she set up the session after a trip to D.C.

"I was in D.C. last spring and found out that this class was being taught in other areas of our state but it had never been taught in Eastern Kentucky,” Goodwin said.

She then applied for a grant that would allow the IEDC to travel with instructors to Hazard to host a class for people in the region.

“We provide conferences, training courses, publications, research, technical assistance all that kind of thing to help economic developers do their jobs better,” IEDC Senior Associate Louise Anderson said.

Anderson said one of the main goals of the session is for leaders to share ideas of how they can make their communities better.

“[In] Ogden, Utah, which was a railroad town, after the railroad heyday was over, the town really went way down economically. It really didn't have any sort of economic driver going there at all. It does have the asset of being located in the mountain of Utah and it became a hub for outdoor recreation equipment manufacturers,” Anderson said.

She explained that is just one example of how the right resources and natural surroundings can help a region.

Goodwin said one of the goals for development in the area is to have county lines blur so the region focuses on creating more opportunities as a whole.

“The last thing we want is generations ahead of us, future generations to look and say, ‘Why didn't they get that opportunity, why didn't they bring other opportunities in?’," Goodwin said.