The Quality of Our Education System and Workforce Development Initiatives

Our region must create, attract and sustain a globally skilled workforce in order to meet the needs of the region’s existing and target industries. This is achieved through working with the education community, local workforce partners, community-based organizations and area businesses. A workforce with 21st century skills is critical for individual and metropolitan prosperity as well as business success. Therefore, the quality of our education system and workforce development initiatives is of the utmost importance.

On Thursday, March 3rd, The Lexington Forum has invited panelists Danette Wilder, President & CEO of SealingLife Technology, and Dr. Robert King, Kentucky Council for Postsecondary Education, to discuss current issues that our region faces when it comes to training our workforce.  Wilder and King will talk about challenges and highlight training programs and educational initiatives that are working to ensure prosperity for our region’s future.

This panel will be moderated by Mark Green of The Lane Report.

Thursday, March 3, 2016
Hilary J. Boone Center – UK’s Campus
7:15 Coffee and Networking
7:30 Breakfast and Program

Free to Members / Guest Fee $20
Please RSVP by noon on Tuesday March 1, 2016


To ensure the maximum amount of time for our panelists and attendee discussion we will begin promptly at 7:30. Please be prepared to take your seat before the program begins.

The Lexington Convention Center – What’s Next?

What is the plan for replacing the Lexington Convention Center?

Lexington Forum board member Larry Smith will moderate a discussion with panelists Bill Owen, President & CEO of the Lexington Convention Center; L.C.C. Board Chair Brent Rice and Marty Rothschild, General Manager of the Downtown Hilton Hotel and President of the Bluegrass Hospitality Association.

Thursday, February 4, 2016
Hilary J. Boone Center – UK’s Campus
7:00 Coffee and Networking
7:15 Breakfast
7:30 Program Begins

Free to Members / Guest Fee $20
Please RSVP by noon onTuesday February 2, 2016

To ensure the maximum amount of time for our panelists and attendee discussion we will begin promptly at 7:30. Please be prepared to take your seat before the program begins.

Leading Initiatives To Improve The Future of Appalachian People

For the people of Eastern Kentucky, is there life after coal? What are the pathways and barriers to better times? And, are the many government, public-private and non-profit efforts to breathe new economic life into the communities of Eastern Kentucky showing any signs of success?
Join the Lexington Forum for breakfast on January 7, 2016 at UK’s Boone Faculty Center to hear from three individuals who are leading initiatives to improve the future of Appalachian people.


Jared Arnett
 is founding Executive Director of “Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR). Arnett leads a mission to expand job creation, enhance regional opportunity, innovation, and identity, improve the quality of life, and support all those working to achieve these goals in Appalachian Kentucky.


Sara Day Evans
 is the founding director of Accelerating Appalachia,  a nature-based business accelerator supporting the growth of entrepreneurialism in the mountain region.


Jerry Rickett
 has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation since 1989. Kentucky Highlands is a community development corporation focusing on venture capital and entrepreneurial development in Eastern Kentucky.


Tom Martin will moderate and questions from the floor will be encouraged.


Thursday, January 7, 2016
Hilary J. Boone Center – UK’s Campus
7:15 Coffee and Networking
7:30 Breakfast and Program

Free to Members / Guest Fee $20


Please RSVP by noon on Tuesday January 5, 2016


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 3 million people nationally have hepatitis C, which caused more than 15,000 deaths in 2013, the most recent year reported.

An epidemic affecting young intravenous drug users across the country, particularly in Appalachia, where opiate abuse exploded in the late 1990s has not subsided.  And that has health officials concerned, not just because the hepatitis C virus can lead to liver failure, cancer and sometimes death, but because its spread can foretell another deadly disease: HIV, which can also be transmitted by shared needles.

In May, the CDC reported a sharp increase in reported cases of hepatitis C among young adults in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. While rates of acute hepatitis C, which is very costly to treat, have risen around the country, Kentucky’s rate was more than seven times higher than the national average.

And these numbers most likely do not even begin to capture the problem, according to the CDC, which estimates only one in every 10 cases gets reported, partly because people with hepatitis often have no symptoms.

A needle exchange program, designed to combat the spread of blood-borne diseases, began in early September of this year, taking used needles and distributing clean ones at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

The goal, according to Lexington’s Health Commissioner Dr. Rice Leach, is to stop the spread of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV – all of which are transmitted by needles.

Dr. Leach will join Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard, and Bluegrass.Org Director of Substance Abuse Services, Michele McCarthy, in a discussion of the public health, law enforcement, and treatment perspectives of the needle exchange program.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hilary J. Boone Center – UK’s Campus

7:15 Coffee and Networking

7:30 Breakfast and Program

Free to Members / Guest Fee $20

Please RSVP by noon on Tuesday November 2, 2015

Gentrification or Accommodation…How does Lexington get it right?

How do you solve an issue that appears to have no point of resolution in sight? You start talking and you keep talking until all the parties find a path that works for those involved. It was with that in mind that the Lexington Forum’s program committee decided to tackle the topic of Gentrification verses Accommodation. They asked the simple question “How does Lexington get it right?”

So, what is “gentrification?” It’s a loaded word. It’s a word always associated with cities on the rebound, and Lexington is no different. Generally, “gentrification” is a term for this: The arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, a related increase in rents and property values, and changes in the district’s character and culture. The term is often used negatively, suggesting the displacement of poor communities by rich outsiders.The effects of Gentrification are complex and contradictory, and its real impact varies. The intent of this morning’s program is to provide an opportunity to hear from folks who are living -day to day- with issues created by Gentrification. The perspectives of our four panelists will be about what is happening right now in these neighborhoods.

Discussion moderator, Tom Martin, opened the conversation with these words during the Forum’s October Meeting.  The Forum hosted four panelists to discuss various perspectives on the topic of Gentrification verses Accommodation. The four panelists were Tanya Torp, Christian Torp, Rock Daniels, and Van Meter Petit. Each panelist spoke briefly on the topic from their point of view and then, the floor opened for audience participation.

While it felt all too brief the discussion brought some great points and questions to light. Such as: How do we provide affordable housing and still enable developers to make the profit necessary to remain in business? Is it actually wrong to displace people or does it lead to healthier communities in the long run? What are the unintended consequences of well meaning people?  These questions and more are still left unanswered and we as a community ought to have a desire, if not a responsibility, to continue this conversation.

During the discussion several resources to assist residents of the areas being impacted were brought to light. They include the following:

Lexington Community Land Trust – local non profit
ReachKY –   local non profit that strives to educate and prepare potential homeowners and then assist them with the transition to ownership.
The Community Land Trust will host a national conference at the Hilton on October 19-22. To see the agenda and conference details please use the link below.
As always we are grateful to the moderator, panelists, and attendees that contributed to another great community conversation that mattered.

Gentrification vs Accommodation: How can Lexington get it right?

Change has come to some of Lexington’s oldest neighborhoods, particularly in the North and East End. Houses that have been occupied by local residents, either as property owners or long term renters, are being purchased, renovated and put back on the market at sale prices and rental rates that may not be affordable for local residents. How can renewal and improvement in these neighborhoods take place while addressing issues of affordability, race, class and neighborhood diversity? What must Lexington do to get this right?
Moderator Tom Martin will lead four panelists in a 10-15 minute discussion and then the floor will open for audience interactions. Our panelists for the the day will be: Rock Daniels, Van Meter Petit, Tanya Torp, and Christian Torp

Thursday, October 1, 2015
Hilary J. Boone Center – UK’s Campus
7:15 Coffee and Networking
7:30 Breakfast and Program

Free to Members / Guest Fee $20
Please RSVP by noon on Tuesday September 29, 2015

Register Now!