Founded in 1878, Leslie County lies nestled in the rural foothills of Kentucky’s Eastern Coalfield region. Despite its wealth of natural beauty and proud history, this region suffers from widespread poverty and deprivation. Once bolstered by the area’s booming coal and lumber industries, the county’s economy is now deteriorating.
Between 2013 and 2015 alone, Leslie County suffered a loss of 700 coal-mining jobs, with no foreseeable recovery in the coal industry. The resulting unemployment left county residents in a state of crisis. New job development is all but nonexistent, due to this region’s remoteness, inaccessibility, and small population.
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