Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Harold Hal Rogers named Dr. George D. Edwards, president and CEO of Big Sandy Community and Technical College, to a planning committee for a regional summit set for December 9 at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville.

SOAR, Shaping Our Appalachian Region, was unveiled on October 28 at a joint news conference by Beshear and Rogers at the First Federal Center on the Hazard Community and Technical College campus.

Dr. Edwards will join a committee of more than 40 people mostly from the private and education sector to create the framework of topics for the December 9 summit in Pikeville.

Im honored to be asked to participate in such an important conversation across our region, said Dr. Edwards. We stand at a critical crossroads, and Big Sandy Community and Technical College stands ready to meet the workforce needs of today as well as developing the programs and curriculum to train the workforce of tomorrow.

Big Sandy Community and Technical College has a storied history of leading workforce development across eastern Kentucky. Its Mayo campus, which opened in 1938, was the first technical school of its kind in the nation. The school trained workers specializing in war communications for World War II. This year, the colleges nursing program at the college celebrated 40 years of existence and has played a critical role in the expansion of quality healthcare across the region. The college offers more than 25 programs on its campuses in Prestonsburg, Pikeville, Paintsville and Hager Hill.

Im very appreciative to Governor Beshear and Congressman Rogers for bringing us together to have this important conversation, said Dr. Edwards. Our region has the intellectual capital to meet the needs of an ever-changing global economy, and we look forward to what comes of this summit.

For more information on SOAR, visit