Alumni Events

September 1, 2018 at 5:30 pm

Wealth & Poverty | Finding Pathways Out of Poverty for the Isolated Appalachian, Sept. 27

Wealth and Poverty Week: Action on Inequality, with graphic in background showing two coins.

The Wealth and Poverty theme at Ohio University presents alum Jennifer Simon on “Finding Pathways Out of Poverty for the Isolated Appalachian” on Thursday, Sept. 27, from 5 to 6 p.m. in Alden 319.

Simon is one of six speakers during “Action on Inequality Week” from Sept. 21-28.

Jennifer Simon, portrait

Jennifer Simon

Appalachians feel left behind by a knowledge-based economy as high paying and extraction-based jobs have left the area. Ohio University launched the LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network as a framework to combine makerspaces, business incubation services, and workforce development programs across parts of Appalachian Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. This presentation demonstrates a disruptive approach to economic development focusing on locally driven, university-facilitated Gateways serving as beacons of innovation and hope. LIGHTS focuses on “making” as a central tenet for diversifying the economy. The Maker Movement is altering the nature of community-based innovation and commerce worldwide creating a maker economy. Making represents a return to the region’s Appalachian heritage: creating by hand.

Jennifer Simon is Executive Director of Regional Innovation at Ohio University (OHIO). Ms. Simon manages a network of twelve place-based makerspaces and incubators serving entrepreneurs in the Appalachian regions of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Her focus is on helping what are often the hopeless on their career and education journeys.  Previously, she directed OHIO’s Innovation Center (IC) providing a supportive environment where entrepreneurs flourish. Successful companies graduated and created jobs in the community. Simon raised more than $3 million in grants.  Simon led Athens County Economic Development and Athens Chamber of Commerce, and as Assistant Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia. She received a BA in political science; an MPA; and an MBA from OHIO.

Any questions?  email Yeong Kim at

About Action on Inequality Week

Going beyond teaching, learning, and advocating for equality, many are taking positive, important actions against inequalities in income, health, education, and well-being in local communities. The Wealth and Poverty Week on Action on Inequality brings the OHIO community together to discuss various actions to combat the growing inequalities in our society and advance the common good.

Wealth and Poverty theme logo



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