Press Releases

SOMERSET, Ky. -- SOAR committee meetings and listening sessions will be held in Eastern Kentucky June 23-26. The listening sessions are designed to open public dialogue about the next strategic steps toward Shaping Our Appalachian Region. Each of the organization's ten working groups are holding organizational meetings and public listening sessions this summer to encourage community members to share ideas on how to improve the region. Next week, six regional listening sessions are planned to address health, business recruitment, agriculture and regional collaboration and identity.

Additionally, the Broadband Working Group will have an organizational meeting at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset on Monday afternoon. 

The public is invited to attend all SOAR meetings. For full details, visit the new SOAR website at


  • Health Working Group Listening Session:

    12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Bellafonte Hospital, 1000 Ashland Ave., 5th Fl. Conference Room in Ashland

  • Broadband Working Group Initial Meeting:

    1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Center for Rural Development, 2292 S. Hwy. 27 in Somerset

  • Business Recruitment Working Group Pikeville Listening Session:

    5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the City of Pikeville Fire Station Training Center, 104 Chloe Road in Pikeville


  • Agriculture, Community & Regional Foods, Natural Resources Working Group Listening Session:

    6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Montgomery County Extension Service, 106 East Locust St. in Mt. Sterling


  • Health Working Group Listening Session: 

    1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. at Union College, 310 College St. in Barbourville

  • Business Recruitment Working Group Paintsville Listening Session:

    5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. ?at the Ramada Inn, 624 James S. Trimble Blvd. in Paintsville

  • Regional Collaboration & Identity and Infrastructure Joint Listening Session:

    6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Gateway Area Development District, 110 County Road 1429 in Morehead

The SOAR initiative was launched by Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers in late 2013, after a stunning downturn in the coal market exacerbated historic challenges in Eastern Kentucky related to unemployment and poverty. More than 1,700 Kentuckians attended a one-day SOAR summit in Pikeville in December. SOAR is intended to help the region develop and put into action new locally-oriented strategies to attack those persistent challenges. Follow SOAR on Facebook @ShapingOurAppalachianRegion and on Twitter @SOAR_EKY and find in-depth resources for the SOAR initiative online at