The Push and Pull of Appalachian LivingCentral Appalachia is in a state of economictransition.One of our biggestassets– our youngpeople – areleaving the region forschool and work.The future ofAppalachia depends on emerging leaders findinga place for themselves to live, work, and thrive intheir communities.
Realities of Youth in CentralAppalachiaYoung people from CentralAppalachia grow up incommunities with an averagehigh school completion rate of68% and a 7% collegecompletion rate.Roughly 17% of residents inthese counties live in povertywith young peopledisproportionally affected.
For example…“West Virginia will needanother 20,000 collegegraduates by 2018 justto keep the stateeconomy at its currentlevel.”Higher Education PolicyCommission Chancellor BrianNoland
Push and Pull of: Non-ProfitsCurrent State: A large population of non-profitleaders (i.e. executive directors, board members,etc.) are nearing retirement. There are not enough We need young young people being people to take over engaged in these as leaders in the major leadership region. roles.The training and mentoring of a younger generationof social justice minded individuals will continuethese much needed efforts into the future.
Push and Pull of: BusinessesCurrent State: Money and wealth are leaving the regionand 2/3 of Appalachian counties have unemploymentrates higher than the national average. It’s hard to find Young people don’t have skilled access to pathways for entrepreneurial self- entrepreneurial success starters for our or gainful employment. businesses.The economic reality of our region calls us todevelop a new generation of employees,managers, and owners.
Push and Pull of: Local FoodsCurrent State: There is a lack of healthy food, cleanwater, land and food infrastructure. The WVLegislature has $250,000 for school systems to spendin/on the local foods movement. We have the There is not enough resources for young information out about entrepreneurial the possibilities for producers to help young people to be build local wealth. producers in Appalachia.More money to invest in farms means more local,young producers who will build local, lastingwealth for themselves and their communities.
Transfer of WealthResearch is showing that there will be a massive Transfer of Wealth(TOW) beginning inAppalachia .Over the next 10 years, anestimated $72 billion will beavailable to transfer betweengenerations in Kentuckyhouseholds.Over the next 20 years, theTOW opportunity is estimated tobe almost $173 billion.According to the 2010 RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship’s report toThe Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative.
The Importance of Young LeadersAs evidenced thus far, emerging leaders are needed in ourregion to continue the Appalachian economic upswing.They are in line for carrying on responsibilities and wealthpassed down from the older generation.Investing in leadership development is the only surefireway to promise Appalachian progress.
The AELNComposed for four major entities in Appalachia:Highlander CenterAMIHigh RocksSTAYJoined by a sharedcommitment tobuilding a sustainablefuture for our regionand our young people.Builds capacity among existing institutions to provide meaningfulsupport to emerging leaders, direct work with young leaders, willprovide opportunities to develop skills, and bring their voices into
Appalachian Media Institute Operates media training programs that allow young people to ask and begin to answer critical questions about their community. AMI employs up to 50 young people in the coalfields per year. Youth –made media is then presented in regional and national conversations dealing with local issues and policy decisions.
Highlander Research and Education CenterPlace where leaders, networks,and movement strands cometogether to interact, buildrelationships, craft jointstrategy, and develop the toolsand mechanisms needed toadvance social and economicjustice within our region.Through leadership institutes,supporting organizations,granting, developing policy, andmentoring leaders in the Southand Appalachia, people expandtheir ideas of what is possible.
High Rocks Educational Corporation Our mission is to educate, empower, and inspire young West Virginia women. We develop youth led programs that provide pathways for success in our home communities. We fuel both the culture of learning and community connections so all our youth have the skills and ideas to drive change locally and on the national stage.
The STAY ProjectThe only youth-run and youth-led regional group in centralAppalachia.Network of members and regional gatherings create avenuesfor our communities to educate themselves, find voice, andnurture political power.Highlights underrepresented populations in Appalachia (i.e.Youth of Color and LGBTQ Youth)
Youth Leadership and PhilanthropyInitiativeEstablished through theCommunity Foundation ofAppalachia Kentucky inAugust 2011.Trains youth grant-makersand promotesunderstanding ofendowment andphilanthropy.Places youth in non-profitleadership roles andencourages civicengagement.
Preparing for the FutureInvesting in:• Educational attainment• Recruitment and retention• Leadership development• Entrepreneurial activity• Organizational development IS investing in Appalachia.
Our success in actively transforming the future of Appalachia depends largely on our ability to harness the power and promise of youngleaders to move the region forward.