Stimulating the local economy is a focus of expanded business programs in the works at one eastern Kentucky college.
We visited Alice Lloyd College to learn how officials plan to do it.
Alice Lloyd College business students like Casey Price are full of ideas.
The senior business administration major says, "I want to go into maybe starting my own restaurant. Another thing I'd like to do is maybe a CPA firm, something like that doing a little bit of finance, or maybe a marketing firm."
The ideas will have room to grow in the college's first ever business department building. Administrators say the two and a half million dollar project will expand business programs, with an emphasis on entrepreneurship.
Alice Lloyd College President Joe Stepp says, "We already know that 85 percent of our students, they go back to Appalachia. We want them to go home and be able to start jobs, and hire local people."
Business professors say economic growth in eastern Kentucky will depend on entrepreneurs, because the region is cut off geographically from outside industry. They say technology in the new building will launch students into businesses beyond the service sector.
Business program coordinator Lenore Pollard explains, "We can do some of the same things in this area in the knowledge industry, using information technology, some of the same things that are being done in India and in China where we're outsourcing work."
Students are optimistic even in the face of the current credit crunch.
"If you go into it thinking 'I can't,' then you're never going to be able to open up your own business, you're never going to be able to fight through those struggles that are going to come," says Price.
The restored building should be open for business next fall.
Details of the expanded programs are still being finalized.
Once the building opens, administrators plan to recruit more business students and hire new faculty.