Arnett speaks to University of Pikeville's Phi Beta Lambda chapter

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) hosted a Business and Breakfast event with the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) chapter at the University of Pikeville (UPIKE) on Tuesday, October 24. 

PBL is the collegiate arm of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and they represent the largest career student business organization in the world.

Lois M. Rogers, CPA, assistant professor of accounting at UPIKE, organized the event, which was held at SOAR’s home office in Pikeville.

Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR, spoke to the students about the history SOAR and its evolution into a Collective Impact organization.

“We are talking about very complex issues in Appalachia Kentucky, and there’s not one single answer,” said Arnett. “The Collective Impact model is a framework to tackle deeply entrenched and complex social problems. The approach is innovative and structured making collaboration work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organizations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change.”

Arnett also explained SOAR’s Regional Blueprint.  The Blueprint, which was launched late last year, is a plan of action for Appalachia Kentucky.  It was put together through a collaboration of 10 working groups and listening sessions across the region that resulted in the input of over 3,000 people.

“This plan is unlike any other in the history of Appalachia,” Arnett told the students. “This was not an outside group coming in and suggesting ways to ‘fix’ us.  This was a plan for Appalachia Kentucky created by Appalachia Kentuckians.  It’s our plan, our vision for the future.”

The Regional Blueprint outlines seven goals:

· Increase the availability of affordable, high-speed broadband, through fiber, to businesses and residents; and increase adoption rates throughout the SOAR region;

· Develop our regional workforce to be competitive in the digital economy and emerging industries;

· Create more and expand existing small businesses within the region by taking full advantage of the digital economy;

· Reduce the physical and economic impact of obesity, diabetes and substance abuse;

· Increase the amount of industrial employment, which includes manufacturing, natural resources, processing, and distribution by expanding existing companies and attracting new ones;

·  Create a local foods movement by connecting local producers to markets for their product both within and outside the region; and

·       Establish Kentucky’s Appalachian region as a tourism destination.

“I want to thank Ms. Rogers and the Phi Beta Lambda students for visiting SOAR,” said Arnett. “As future leaders in the business sector, they will play an important role in the transformation of Appalachia Kentucky.”

To learn more about SOAR, visit or call (606) 766-1160.