By Jerry Rickett
It’s been a year of firsts for Kentucky’s Promise Zone. We’ve hired a coordinator, created a strategic plan, established six working committees and conducted meetings in each of the eight Southeastern Kentucky counties in the zone.
Last year, President Obama announced that Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, Clay, Knox and part of Whitley would become of one of the five federal Promise Zones. As such, the area will gain a competitive advantage in applying for federal funds as well as additional assistance from various federal agencies that oversee housing, education, economic development, agriculture and safety. Those agencies also will provide increased coordination to help the counties maximize federal and private investment.
We’ve listened. We’ve collaborated. We’ve planned. And those efforts already are paying off.
Programs in the Promise Zone have attracted more than $109 million in funding. Investments already are being made in areas such as education; medical facilities; college and career readiness; online information technology degree and certificate programs; workforce training; health and anti-drug initiatives; and housing and energy-efficiency projects. Some of the highlights include:
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