Past Events

2024 Strategy Summit

By January 16, 2024February 15th, 2024No Comments

January 29, 2024

The theme of this year’s 2024 Strategy Summit was “Celebrating Our Victories; Visioning What’s Next to Build an Appalachia That’s Good for Our Workers, Communities, and Climate.”  Our conversation continued to focus around implementation efforts related to Congress’ passage of a monumental federal climate infrastructure package (the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act) as well as telling the story of its success in bringing back hope to a region long left behind. 

We had nearly 500 registrants sign up for this virtual event and were honored to provide a space for a diverse set of regional stakeholders and partners to come together to talk about our shared vision and action plan for the region.

Check out some of this year’s responses:

This summit made me excited to see partnerships continue to grow and flourish across Appalachia. I believe we can do so much more together than we have been trying to do separately.

You are taking coalition building to a whole new level – keep it up in 2024!

Heidi Shadeck

PennTAP / The Pennsylvania State University

Keep bringing forth the stories, challenges, and experiences of many local initiatives. They are the pioneers of the development efforts and we need Reimagine Appalachia to help us identify the best practices.

Peter Nerone

Kentucky resident

ReImagine Appalachia brings people together continuously and shares funding sources. I love the website also. The big takeaway is that we have loads of people receiving some funding and we need to network like hell to actually make as much change in job development, quality of life, and access to power as we can with those dollars.

Missed our summit? Wondered what was happening in the other breakout rooms? This blog breaks down the main takeaways while providing notes and recordings for you to catch up!

Day 1: Make it in Appalachia: Local, Sustainable, Equitable

Day one of the 2024 Summit was all about the sustainable manufacturing potential in the region.

Watch the recording here:

Our Keynote speakers included (swipe through):

Our panelists helped us to reflect on what the future of Appalachia as a manufacturing hub within the green economy might look like. Over the course of the day, we considered the actionable steps we could take to make climate-friendly manufacturing practices a reality in Appalachia, discussing the sustainable products that could be manufactured, the infrastructures like shuttered coal plants that could be repurposed, the qualities of high quality jobs and diverse training pipelines and various ways we can ensure this transition is rooted in community vision.  

Following an introduction by Andrew Dalhgren and Tanu Kumar of Urban Manufacturing Alliance emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusion within manufacturing and best practices, we got the chance to hear about the work of each of the other four panelists.

  • Tom Reed of Catalyst Connection shared his experience with connecting manufacturers with training and resources and offered insights on spreading funding that allows companies to update manufacturing facilities to thrive in the new energy economy.

  • Jacob Hannah then spoke about the Coalfield Development Corporation and their work training program that aims to give people with barriers to employment the skills and connections needed to secure quality jobs. The Coalfield Development Corporation’s program demonstrates how prioritizing wraparound services can strengthen circular and sustainable economies and communities.

  • Jen Gilburg focused her presentation on Pennsylvania’s coal plant playbooks, which outline redevelopment plans for shuttered coal plants to drive economic growth and community development within the state.

  • Jen Seifert then discussed her work with New Leaf Justice Enterprises, which provides job training and two years of secure housing for survivors of domestic abuse. The program allows survivors to process their trauma in a safe environment and eventually re-enter the workforce with new skills. The success of New Leaf Justice Enterprises speaks to the value of workforce training programs and wrap around benefits as we envision this new green manufacturing sector.

In the roundtable conversation following the individual presentations, the panelists shared some encouraging success stories that remind us of the importance of centering workers and providing pathways to employment to make manufacturing mutually beneficial for the environment and communities that have faced a history of exploitation. 

During the breakout sessions following the speakers’ remarks, attendees chose between four workshops which addressed different aspects of the conversation around fostering a green manufacturing hub in Appalachia.

Breakout sessions (click the arrow to read notes and recordings):

As we look towards the bright future of Appalachia and imagine green manufacturing’s place there, this first day of the summit has made it clear that we must embrace new ideas with flexibility, focus on repurposing the resources that already exist such as shuttered coal plants, and effectively support all workers through fair wages, benefits and training programs. The case studies presented on day one have shown how a shift to sustainable and inclusive manufacturing practices have already had positive impacts on communities throughout Appalachia with the promise of so much more.

Day 2: Stories of Hope: ReImagining Appalachian Communities with Federal Climate Resources

We heard from Appalachian community leaders about how federal climate infrastructure resources are allowing communities and workers in the Ohio River Valley to reimagine their futures for our communities and workers in the Ohio River Valley region of Appalachia. We addressed the following: How can we use incremental successes to communicate the extent of new opportunities for the region? What’s the story we need to be telling and why does it matter?

Watch the recording here:

Our Keynote speakers included (click to swipe through):

Breakout sessions (click the arrow to read notes and recordings):

The Strategy Summit concluded with a discussion about Policy Priorities for Appalachia in 2024. Our panelists provided a brief update on the Congressional landscape, and the broad impacts it has on work in the region. How can we work together to help shape our Congressional policy priorities for 2024 and reimagine a brighter future for Appalachia?