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WKCTC Selected as Finalist for Part of $100 Million in State Funding

PADUCAH, KY (December 1, 2016) West Kentucky Community and Technical College is in the first round of finalists approved for potential funding from the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiatives $100 million statewide bond program.

Led by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Cabinet and approved by the Kentucky General Assembly earlier this year, the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative is aimed at building a highly trained, modernized workforce in the Commonwealth to meet the needs of employers and promote sustainable incomes for Kentuckians.

The initiative encouraged private sector employers, high schools or secondary technical schools, and postsecondary institutions, among other entities, to develop partnerships and submit applications for projects that will aid in workforce training and education.

Eligible projects include the construction and equipping of new facilities; renovations or upgrades of facilities; or the purchase of new or upgraded equipment, software, or furnishings.

The West Kentucky Partnership Work Ready Skills Initiative proposal of $4,617,700.95 brings a concerted cooperative innovative focus to expand and enhance technical education in five industry sectors across the Jackson Purchase region - advanced manufacturing, transportation, health sciences, information technology and business and construction trades.

The proposal represents every school district in the region along with WKCTC, Fulton and Fulton County, Mayfield and Graves County, Murray and Calloway County Paducah McCracken County Area Technology Centers, Ballard County, Marshall County Career and Technology Centers, Murray State University, and the University of Kentucky College of Engineering Paducah campus.

Other partners are Head Start, Adult Education, numerous businesses and several Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development groups.

The focus of the proposal is to capitalize on economic opportunities generated through the development of Interstate 69 and increase of inland waterway activity while also addressing the workforce needs of current industries due to the aging of the workforce, said Dr. Steve Freeman, WKCTC Dean of Workforce and Economic Development.

Area technology centers along with the career and technology centers will receive equipment to enhance instruction and increase dual credit pathways. WKCTC will also work with these partners to expand out-reach to underserved adult populations with workforce training and college courses.

Funds will also be used for minor renovations at WKCTCs Skilled Craft Training Center, Inland Logistics and Marine Institute, Mayfield/Graves County Area Technology Center for expansion of electrical and welding technology classes and some infrastructural improvements at Fulton/Fulton County Area Technology Center.

WKCTC President Dr. Anton Reece commended Dean Freeman for facilitating the grant initiative. I would also like to recognize the incredible collaboration, support and coordination among WKCTC, our regional area technology center and community and technical college partners to achieve this recognition, Reece said.

According to the Kentucky Education and Workforce and Development website, in addition to WKCTC, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Hazard Community and Technical College, Henderson Community College, Jefferson Community and Technical College, Owensboro Community and Technical College and Southcentral Community and Technical College were also among the first round of finalists.

Work Ready Skills Initiative funds may be provided for up to ninety percentof the total project investment; proposals required at least 10 percent match by local partners. Fund disbursement for the approved projects is anticipated to begin this month.

If we are fortunate enough to be funded it will be transformative for our region and access to education and workforce training efforts, said Reece.