June 28, 2016 | By: Roberta Meisel

Eastern Kentucky is working hard to find solutions to the decline in coal jobs. On June 22, 75 business owners and local leaders discussed new possibilities at the Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg. The luncheon was part of the Moving Forward – Letcher County initiative that is a partnership between the Kentucky Small Business Development Center and Letcher County Fiscal Court.

Becky Naugle, KSBDC state director, and Jim Ward, Letcher County Fiscal Court county judge executive, welcomed attendees to the event. Prior to the luncheon, nearly a dozen economic development based organizations participated in the resource fair to network with those present. During the luncheon local business owners, Paul Whitaker of Superior Printing and Publishing Co. Inc. and Denise Preece of Ground Solutions LLC, inspired the crowd with personal stories of how they responded to opportunity and found success.

“Seeing the level of interest and networking at the meeting made it is easy to understand the attraction of the area. Even during tough economic times, Eastern Kentucky is a special place to live and work. KSBDC is honored to help support the small businesses in this region,” Naugle said.

Following the guest speakers, Shawn Rogers, KSBDC program coordinator, announced the Preparing for Opportunity training events. This will be a free, three-part series with two training tracks: government contracting and general business. Live instruction at the Whitesburg campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College will be broadcast to the Middlesboro and Cumberland campuses. The first session will July 12, with a resource fair opening at 4 p.m. EDT followed by check-in at 5:30 p.m. and training from 6 to 8 p.m. Training will also take place at 6 p.m. July 26 and Aug.9. Additional details on the training sessions will be announced soon.

For more information, visit https://www.ksbdc.org/preparing-for-opportunityor email Shawn Rogers at movingforwardletcher@ksbdc.org.

KSBDC, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 13 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information on KSBDC services, visit their website, http://www.ksbdc.org/.

Other partners include: MoreheadSmall Business Development Centers at Pikeville and Ashland, Southeast Small Business Development Center, Small Business Administration, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, Kentucky Innovation Network–Pikeville, Kentucky River Area Development District, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises Inc. and Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet–Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certification.


Shawn Rogers, 859-257-7662