This multi-county effort is designed to serve five economically-distressed Kentucky counties (Clay, Jackson, Lee, Leslie, and Owsley) through the formation of a regional economic development council. Grant funds will allow for the hiring of a strategic planning consultant to move this initiative forward. This plan will provide a comprehensive view of regional resources, including available properties, labor force demographics, natural assets, and other business and industry assets that will inform plans to leverage these resources and market them to state, regional, and national businesses. The resulting plan will also provide guidance in how participating counties may pool resources for more effective business recruitment as well as determine the feasibility of forming a regional economic development organization.
The Community & Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) will facilitate the development of the strategic plan. CEDIK has worked with regional communities to identify alternative economic development strategies beyond traditional industrial recruitment and has expertise in expanding existing businesses, cluster analysis, entrepreneurship, and developing and supporting the creative class. CEDIK will work with industry, business, and government officials to establish economic development goals for the five-county region, which will provide a roadmap for implementing a more coordinated regional approach to economic development. All participating counties have passed resolutions to support the formation of a regional economic development initiative prior to submitting the grant proposal.