Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, in partnership with eight counties in southeastern Kentucky, was designated on January 7, 2014 by President Barack Obama as the first rural Promise Zone in the nation. With this designation, the partners will engage the communities in a collaborative, comprehensive process aimed at improving the overall quality of life in the region.
As Lead Entity for the Kentucky Highlands Promise Zone, KHIC intends to build upon its forty-eight year track record of successful economic and community development to concentrate resources in a targeted manner. The resources will be coordinated and managed by KHIC and will include partnerships between local, state and federal governments; the non-profit sector; schools, colleges and universities; law enforcement; and, private sector investment. KHIC developed a methodology for targeted development in its implementation of the Kentucky Highlands Empowerment Zone from 1994-2009 that proved to be highly successful and more recently through the Stronger Economies Together project. KHIC is confident that the processes and investment that the partners will bring to the Promise Zone will yield a measurable return in terms of jobs created, increased tax base, decreased government spending on social programs, technology improvements, crime reduction and private investment. Of equal importance will be the immeasurable returns in terms of self-sufficiency, self-esteem and community well-being.