Brushy Fork Annual Institute

Reimagining Our Region: Economic Inclusion & Innovation

Track Leader: Lori Garkovich

This session is designed as a think tank for developing promising ideas and recommendations for creating opportunity-rich communities that contribute to a stronger region.

During this critical period of economic recovery and revitalization in Appalachia, we have an opportunity to reimagine the future of our region and its economy. This reimagining includes identifying what types of businesses can and will form the building blocks of an inclusive, resilient new economy.

This intensive brainstorming and strategy session will be guided by the following questions:

  • What does equitable economic development look like and how is it related to sustainable development?
  • How might we attract or create more middle-wage jobs or transform low-wage labor into jobs with dignity?
  • What might a community-driven good jobs strategy look like?
  • How do we link growth and opportunity in ways that ensure the least advantaged and most vulnerable aren’t left behind?
  • How can we use local data to drive systems change?

Our goal will be to identify opportunities to grow existing businesses, develop a climate that supports new enterprises, and builds an infrastructure that bakes in pathways to economic mobility.

We will also look at what regional assets can be mobilized toward the vision we create and identify the challenges we may face advancing this work, including how to cultivate buy-in for innovative ideas from residents and leaders. And we will seek to establish criteria to assess the effect of change strategies on community inequality.

Lori Garkovich facilitates strategic planning and community visioning processes in communities and civic organizations. She has facilitated strategic planning related to economic development, land use and growth management, tourism development, and general community development.

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