Officials in Frankfort announced last week that project pre-applications for the first round of state funding from a $100 million workforce development bond fund are due on Friday, August 12.
The aim of the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative is to develop a better trained workforce. The Initiative was announced in July by Governor Matt Bevin, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Hiener, and Cabinet for Economic Development Acting Secretary Erik Dunnigan.
County Judge-executive Wallace Taylor recently said the county is partnering with the school system and pre-applying for $12 million of those dollars to build an Estill County Workforce Center for Training and Education.
“The school system stands ready to financially support the construction of a new facility that will meet the needs of our students and adults from our county and surrounding communities. We are willing to form partnerships with local colleges, such as Bluegrass Community and Technical College and EKU, and build relationships with local business, the community and local and state leaders,” wrote Superintendent Jeff Saylor to Secretary Heiner in his letter of support for the project.
Students or residents who desire technical or vocational training must currently travel outside the county to receive it.
“Not every one will want to go to college,” said Magistrate Darrell Johnson in a recent fiscal court meeting as he stressed the need for training plumbers, electricians, welders and other skilled workers.
Another objective of the center would be to re-train those who have lost their jobs or desire to switch jobs. Training for specific jobs at specific locations, such as at hospitals or factories, could be offered as well.
Applications will be reviewed by a nine-member Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee in late August. Successful pre-applicants will be invited to submit a full project application.
Eligible projects include construction of a new facility to provide workforce training, renovation of an existing facility, purchase of new or upgraded equipment and first-year marketing expenses. Applicants must be prepared to provide at least a 10 percent match for their projects.