Job creation in rural America begins with local leaders, a vision for improving the local economy and then bringing together financing partners to make the vision a reality. I had the honor of joining Congressman Hal Rogers and representatives from Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul’s offices today to celebrate such job creating efforts in Laurel County, KY. As we walked through this 9,600 square foot business accelerator, you can understand why it is referred to as the BIG Center.
BIG really stands for Business Innovation and Growth Center, but it also means southeast Kentucky residents now have BIG opportunities to expand their local economy and create local jobs that further spur local economic growth. Kentucky Highland Investment Corporation (KHIC), a leader in economic development in southeast Kentucky, successfully brought together local, state and federal financing partners to make this $1.8 million facility a reality. One of those local economic development leaders is Jackson Energy Cooperative Corporation, which partnered with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and KHIC to provide $440,000 in USDA Rural Economic Development loan and grant financing for the BIG Center. Additional USDA funding included $199,000 in Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG). The RBEG program supports local economic development efforts in rural areas.
I appreciate the wonderful relationship developed over the many years with Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation to create jobs and build stronger rural communities.
Today is a day of celebration. We celebrate the new opportunities for 17 local businesses to utilize the state-of-the-art and energy efficient facility. We celebrate the new opportunities for 80 local jobs to be created, and we celebrate the promise of sustainable economic development in rural southeastern Kentucky.