Ohio University

Annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region conference to focus on partnerships promoting growth

The eighth annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region Conference will bring public officials, economic development experts, business and organizational leaders and others to Ohio University to discuss how strategic partnerships can generate economic growth in rural Southeast Ohio.

With the theme, “Partnerships for Economic Prosperity,” the conference is May 21 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Ohio University’s Baker Center Ballroom on the Athens Campus. The morning and early afternoon will feature several panel discussions on regional partnerships, broadband access, workforce development and more.

More than 20 speakers will discuss how partnerships and collaborations can address challenges and increase opportunities in regional economic prosperity. A new program format of “lightning round” presentations of five to seven minutes will also allow more topics and content do be covered during the conference than previous years.

“The focus on partnerships – whether they be with public, private or nonprofit organizations – is instrumental to ensuring our region grows and thrives,” Dr. Jason Jolley, conference organizer and Ohio University Voinovich School associate professor of rural economic development, said. “As our namesake Sen. George Voinovich often touted, public-private partnerships are a key solution to changing the narrative and spurring prosperity for both the workforce and the employers of Appalachian Ohio.”

The conference will conclude with an update on the Appalachian Partnership Inc. (API) and Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG) Regional Prosperity Plan. The plan outlines goals and strategies for economic development in a 25-county region set to be completed this year.

“Many substantive changes are happening with the major industries that impact our region. Partnerships will help us to both capitalize on these changes, and also fill in the gaps to spur continued economic development,” Jolley concluded.

Registration for the State of Region Conference is free and now open. However, space is limited, so attendees should register as soon as possible. To register, visit sotr.ohio.edu/registration/.

The Appalachian Ohio State of the Region Conference is co-sponsored by the Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Appalachian Partnership, Inc. For more information on the conference and to view the full agenda, visit sotr.ohio.edu/.