The ninth annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region Conference will gather public officials, economic development experts, and business and organizational leaders virtually May 11 to May 13 to foster collaboration and share innovation in Appalachian Ohio.
Sponsored by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs EDA University Center, the conference will focus on infrastructure-related topics, particularly transportation, site development, workforce innovations, clean water initiatives and broadband development in the region. Sessions will take place between noon and 2 p.m. each day.
“The past year has highlighted how important it is for regional partners to work together and share information vital to develop projects and improve communities,” said Gina Collinsworth, public information coordinator at the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission. “Our region quickly adapted and still continues to make headway, thanks in part to the resiliency and trust built on regularly coming together to partner on issues.”
The conference will feature more than 20 speakers from the Appalachian Drinking Water Initiative, Hocking Athens Perry Community Action (HAPCAP), Meigs Industrial Park, Muskingum County Industrial Business Park, Ohio Development Services Agency, Ohio Means Jobs, Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Youngstown SMART2 Network from the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, among others.
“The local development districts and economic development partners are the boots on the ground for the region,” Collinsworth said. “When we come together to coordinate on projects, we are utilizing resources for the biggest impact and learning how to leverage influence to benefit the most.”
The Voinovich School drew on its long-standing partnerships with the Buckeye Hills Regional Council, the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association, the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission and the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments to help organize the conference.
“Jointly planning this conference allows us to feature new innovations and opportunities across the 32-county Appalachian Ohio region,” said Dr. Jason Jolley, professor of rural economic development and director of Ohio University’s EDA University Center. “Developing a shared understanding of our challenges and opportunities is key to building more resilient communities.”
The event is part of the Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center project. For more information on the conference and to view the full agenda, visit https://www.ohio.edu/voinovich-school/projects/appalachian-ohio-state-region-conference.
Registration for the Conference is free and now open. Visit https://ohiouniversity.brand.live/c/2021-state-of-the-region.