Jared Arnett, the CEO of the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, has been named the executive director of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative. Arnett will take the new role beginning November 1st.
Arnett’s responsibilities will include the achievement of the organization’s strategic, operational, and financial goals as well as developing and implementing the SOAR Program of Work.
Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers founded the SOAR initiative last year in order to address the need of job creation, regional opportunity, innovation, and the improvement of life in Appalachian Kentucky. December’s SOAR summit was held in Pikeville, KY with over 1,500 attendees including community members, governmental organizations, and Appalachian interest groups. Several key committees were formed around the needs of Eastern Kentucky including: agriculture, broadband access, business incubation, education and retraining, health, infrastructure, and tourism.
The SOAR initiative has received praise for its encouragement of out-of-the-box thinking and crossing of party lines in order to bring about the economic change needed in the region. Arnett’s placement has the backing of several key Kentuckians including Congressman Hal Rogers, Governor Steve Beshear, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo.
Fahe and several member organizations including Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation are taking an active part in the SOAR initiative.