As I look around the state at all the opportunities our students have, I can’t help but be excited about what’s going on in eastern Kentucky because of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative. KCTCS is a proud partner of SOAR. In fact, five of our colleges – Ashland, Big Sandy, Hazard, Somerset and Southeast Kentucky – operate within the SOAR region.
Our SOAR colleges offer programs focused on community development, entrepreneurship, fiber optics, information technology and more. They have served more than 110,000 first-generation college students since 2008, and awarded more than 41,000 degrees and credentials since 2010.
Today these five colleges are participating in the SOAR Innovation Summit in Pikeville, which is helping connect people with opportunities and solutions to challenges facing the region. Being a part of SOAR and the Innovation Summit presents opportunities for us to help shape a generation of students, learners, opportunity seekers, entrepreneurs, trade workers, scholars and leaders that will impact the region now and for generations to come.
Being a SOAR partner is just one more way we’re living our mission to improve the lives and employability of Kentuckians.