HUNTINGTON — Southern West Virginia will be in the spotlight this coming fall, as the Alliance for Economic Development of Southern West Virginia, the West Virginia Community Development Hub and Coalfield Development are teaming up once again for the second annual Small Communities, BIG Solutions conference later this month.
The conference celebrates southern West Virginia successes and highlights what is working across the state’s 21 most southern counties.
The Small Communities, BIG Solutions conference will be at BridgeValley Community & Technical College’s Advanced Technology Center, located at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston, on Nov. 18.
“We received overwhelming positive feedback from our attendees and participants in last year’s conference, so we decided to make the conference an annual tradition,” said Sara Payne Scarbro, the alliance’s operations council chairwoman, in a release. “There are so many individuals and organizations that are doing amazing work, and this conference gives attendees the opportunity to network, make new connections and learn about what is working well in southern West Virginia.”
Brandon Dennison, founder and CEO of Coalfield Development, said the conference is a chance to pause to celebrate each other, learn what is working and build off those successes.
The partners expect a good mix of participants, including businesses, educators, community leaders and public officials.
The one-day function will include updates from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., other government leaders, the West Virginia Department of Commerce, and business and education leaders.
Attendees will have an opportunity to attend breakout sessions on various topics including addiction and recovery, workforce development, community revitalization, women’s issues and more.
The conference partners will also highlight seven individuals during a POWER of Performance awards ceremony during the conference.
“We truly want to honor our own during this conference,” said Stephanie Tyree, West Virginia Community Development Hub’s executive director. “These POWER performers can be businesses, grantees, community activists or individuals. This is a time for southern West Virginia to shine, and we will highlight the best of the best during our conference.”
Last year’s POWER performers were Vicki Webb with the Community Transformation Project in Raleigh County; Ashland Scenic Campground in McDowell County; Tammy Jordan with Fruits of Labor in Greenbrier and Fayette counties; Judy Moore with the West Virginia Hive Network in Raleigh County; Sarah Riley with High Rocks Educational Corp. in Pocahontas County; and the Healthy Grandfamilies program started by West Virginia State University.
The Small Communities, BIG Solutions conference is open to the public, but space is limited. The cost is $35 per person. To learn more about the conference and to register, visit Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/small-communities-big-solutions-conference-tickets-63427628745?aff=ebdssbdestsearch. For more information contact Scarbro at 304-696-2889.