Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR), Congressman Hal Rogers, and the Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED) hosted the Supplier Education and Economic Development (SEED) Defense Contracting Symposium in October 2017 at the Corbin Center to help educate local employers about how they can compete for more jobs in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. SOAR was also a sponsor of the event.
“The Defense Department awarded $448 billion in federal contracts in fiscal year 2015 alone. I believe we could have captured more of those contracts in Kentucky, so that’s why we’re here – to help our companies become eligible to compete for jobs that we can do right here at home,” said Congressman Rogers, who serves as co-chair of SOAR. “Several local employers have secured competitive federal contracts for decades, proving our workforce has what it takes to get the job done right. However, we’re just scratching the surface of opportunity so far.”
Dyke Weatherington, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for space, strategic and intelligence systems, who is based in the Pentagon, attended the event to discuss the importance of supplying military needs for our warfighters.
“Providing a strong industrial base is how the Department of Defense is going to get ahead of the threat,” said Weatherington. “With the support of Congress, we are going to push our priorities and there will be lots of opportunities for small business.”
Prime federal contractors, like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing attended the event to meet with local employers to provide information about the requirements and certifications necessary for federal contracts, including HubZone and ISO certifications.
To help prepare local employers, SKED was awarded an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant to help 12 companies become ISO certified.
“The most important thing we can do is open the door of opportunity for our local employers,” said Brett Traver executive director of SKED,. “We believe this event will bear fruit in the near future in the form of jobs for the people of Southern and Eastern Kentucky.”