by Anthony “Tony” Campbell, CEO EKPC, Op-Ed for The Courier Journal
For Eastern Kentucky, the statistics are as familiar as they are disheartening: Over half of coal-mining jobs gone in the last five years; one-quarter of residents living below poverty level; and average per-capita incomes stuck at a fraction of the rest of the nation.
Last year, numbers like these prompted a New York Times reporter to write that Eastern Kentucky “just might be the hardest place to live in the United States. Statistically speaking.”
But people are not statistics. If you don’t live and work in Eastern Kentucky and know the people here, it can be difficult to imagine how things could change for the better. But, because of those people, the electric cooperatives serving Eastern Kentucky are convinced the region’s future is bright. All that’s lacking are the tools necessary for people—especially younger generations—to help themselves.
Today, President Bill Clinton concluded the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting, which convened nearly 1,000 leaders from business, foundation, NGO, and government sectors to advance solutions that encourage economic growth, support long-term competitiveness, and increase social mobility in the United States. Attendees made 79 new Commitments to Action that, when fully funded and implemented, will positively impact the lives of more than 1.6 million people in the United States.
“These past two days have reinforced for me, more than ever, that when you strip away all the little things that divide us, you can see just how tied together we all are,” said President Clinton. “And, most importantly, you have done so with a bias for action and a relentless focus on the future. Because of your efforts, more than 1.6 million people will be better off.”
Throughout the two-day working meeting, attendees collaborated to develop dynamic approaches for solving some of the nation’s most critical challenges by sharing knowledge, building partnerships, and generating Commitments to Action—new, specific, and measurable plans for addressing significant challenges. Among the 79 new commitments announced are programs to provide low-income and subprime consumers with alternatives to predatory loans; a project to train 500 tribal members to install and maintain solar energy systems on the Navajo Nation; and a coordinated effort to improve job quality for domestic care workers by asking employers to commit to a short list of key job quality standards for their employees.
By Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Lexington-Herald Leader
East Kentucky Power Cooperative and the non-profit Project Lead The Way are pursuing an initiative to improve science, technology, engineering and math education in Eastern Kentucky to bring high-skill, high-wage jobs to the region, a news release said.
On Wednesday, at a Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in Denver, former President Bill Clinton announced the organizations’ plan to help the region’s public school teachers pursue professional development, and for school districts to implement Project Lead The Way’s STEM-based curriculum, the news release said.
The Clinton Global Initiative, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to address challenges.
The overall initiative is called STEM-Transforming Eastern Kentucky, or STEM-TEK. Its plan is to provide professional development opportunities for 3,000 teachers. The intent is to engage more than 80,000 students in 19 counties, the news release said.
Commitment by East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Inc., Project Lead the Way
In 2015, the East Kentucky Power Cooperative and Project Lead The Way committed to pilot STEM Transforming Eastern Kentucky (STEM-TEK), a comprehensive K-16 STEM education initiative that will equip students with the 21st century skills needed to attract industry and employers to the region. Over the course of three years, commitment partners will implement Project Lead The Ways K-12 STEM curriculum in 177 schools across 19 counties, providing ongoing professional development and promoting certification for 3,000 teachers, and engaging over 82,000 students in high-quality project-based STEM learning.
Denver, Colo. (June 10, 2015) – East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) are pursuing a one-of-a-kind initiative to transform Eastern Kentucky into a center for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, in order to bring high-skill, high-wage jobs to the region.
Tuesday, at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting, former President Bill Clinton announced the organizations’ plan to help the region’s teachers pursue professional development, and for school districts to implement PLTW’s innovative STEM-based curriculum.
“We are creating the building blocks for success and prosperity in Eastern Kentucky,” said Anthony “Tony” Campbell, EKPC’s president & CEO. “We see this as the beginning of a long-term effort to fundamentally change the environment for high-quality jobs and investment in the region.”