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maced's statement about federal promise zone designation in kentucky


January 10, 2014


BEREA, KY— We are encouraged by President Obama's designation of eight eastern Kentucky counties as a federal Promise Zone, and are hopeful it will mean the start of an increase in new federal investment in the area. Such investment is desperately needed to transition the region toward a more diverse economy that is more effective for a broader range of people.


It is especially encouraging that the program places emphasis on building the economy of Promise Zones from within through entrepreneurship, workforce development and education. Broad-based community economic development efforts are critical to growing a more resilient economy. 


Though this designation is an important and positive step, it will not be enough by itself to do the necessary work of transition in the region. More initiatives at the state and federal level will be needed, including using coal severance tax dollars in a more thoughtful and deliberate way. We look forward to the impact the Promise Zone designation will have in eastern Kentucky, and to the implementation of other such programs in the region.


Congratulations to Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation and its partners for their successful pursuit of this designation. MACED looks forward to assisting this work moving forward.