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A Bright Economic Future for the Mountain State (2013)

Exploring solutions and opportunities for future economic development in West Virginia

On September 3-4, 2013, a UCS-sponsored forum brought together an engaging series of presentations and panels that laid out visions for West Virginia’s future, identified pathways for achieving those visions, and celebrated forward-looking community leaders already creating that future today.

Held at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia in Charleston, the event featured well-known state leaders who described their visions for West Virginia in 30 years, taking an objective and critical look at opportunities for future economic development.

The forum worked to spark an honest, objective, and open discussion that centered on solutions, not problems, and highlighted community leaders who are already achieving success in creating new opportunities and a brighter future for us all.

Goals of the event

  1. To discuss concrete ideas for moving West Virginia forward;
  2. To provide a relaxed atmosphere for diverse perspectives and exchange of views;
  3. To identify needs and pathways for moving the state forward;
  4. To celebrate the successes of local communities in creating new economic opportunities;
  5. To serve as a launching point for future collaborations and partnerships.

Free screening of Hollow: An Interactive Documentary

The event included a free screening of Hollow: An Interactive Documentary and a discussion with the filmmaker Elaine McMillion.

Hollow explores the issues and future of rural America through the voices of those living in McDowell County, West Virginia. The film is composed of 30 short documentaries created by McDowell County residents and the Hollow production team. Using videos, photos, data visualizations, and maps, Hollow aims to provide a multi-facted view of the area that encourages local change.

“Most of the thoughts and opinions of our state are formed by outside forces looking in," said Jason Headley, a copywriter for Hollow. "A project like this gives us the opportunity to do the exact opposite. To let people see West Virginia from the perspective of the people who live here."

A panel discussion with McMillion and two McDowell residents — Patrick Corcoran and Trey Lockhart — followed the screening.

Hollow is supported by WV Filmmakers Guild and The West Virginia Humanities Council.  

About the sponsors

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy is a policy research organization that is nonpartisan, nonprofit, and statewide. The Center’s research and analysis is designed to support informed public dialog and policy in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Community Development Hub is a statewide non-profit organization that works to engage communities and organizations in a system of community development that is locally-determined and directed, continuous, intentional, and aligned across all three sectors of society (public, private and civil).

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