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Whitesburg, KY- Students and young people from across Appalachia gathered at the Boone Youth Drop-In Center on Saturday to learn about the emerging Technology industry. The “Solution Spotlight” was the first in a series hosted by the KY Student Environmental Coalition that highlight the people who are taking economic transition into their own hands by building new opportunities. Izzy Broomfield of Mountain Tech Media, a local media business, and Shawn Lind of Appalshop’s new Mines to Minds Program spoke to the role technology is playing in economic transition and how young people can pursue careers in this field without having to leave the region to find a job.
“Many of my peers talk about leaving Appalachia for opportunities elsewhere, but Appalachia is my home. The mountains are a part of my life and I can’t imagine not seeing them on the horizon everyday.” said Caci Gibson a senior at Eastern Kentucky University from Middlesboro, KY. “Events like KSEC’s Solution Spotlights give me the opportunity to network with other young people who want to see Kentucky prosper and they inspire me to pursue new ideas. When we stay and work for a Just Transition, I believe we can ensure that Appalachia has a bright, just future, not just for young people but for everyone.”
This series of economic “Solution Spotlights” is a part of a bigger project organized by KSEC’s Just Transition Working Group to ensure that youth voices are a part of the discussion around economic transition, that young people know how to engage in economic decision making in their communities, and to show that the new economy is not something off in the future, rather, people are already forging their own paths towards a diversified economy in Central Appalachia.
KSEC is building a youth movement for an environmentally just and sustainable Kentucky. The network of students educates their peers in environmental issues, trains them in civic engagement activities and grassroots organizing strategy, stands in solidarity with environmental student groups across the state, and supports three working groups that emphasize just transition, political engagement, and local food.