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Christian County awarded $4.2 Million Work Ready Skills Grant

May 17, 2017

In February, 2017, Governor Matt Bevin and Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner announced $34 million in funding for the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative (WRSI), with a grant application component due mid-March. 

 

To be considered a successful WRSI proposal, the project would create, maintain and promote higher wage and sustainable career opportunities.  The project would need to be designed to provide the necessary facilities, equipment, programs and curriculum to train and educate workers to meet the workforce needs of Kentucky’s employers now and in the future.  The training programs utilized in the project would be designed for the top five job sector demands which are:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Information Technology
  • Construction

WRSI funds could be provided for up to ninety percent of the total project investment, with the applicant and its partners contributing ten percent of the total project costs.  The eligible projects for the grant would be:

  • new facility construction
  • renovation or remodel of an existing facility
  • purchase of new or upgraded equipment, software, and/or furnishings

To be an eligible applicant for the grant, a public-private partnership would need to include the following:

  • private sector employers
  • high schools
  • secondary technical schools
  • postsecondary institutions

Applicants were encouraged to include broad collaborative partnerships, such as local elected officials, workforce development agencies and economic development partners. 

 

We titled our grant Work Ready Skills of the Pennyrile (WRAP).  Our grant application team consisted of:

  • Christian County Public Schools (CCPS)
  • Hopkinsville Community College (HCC)
  • South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council (SWK EDC)
  • Pennyrile Area Development District (PADD)
  • Christian County Chamber of Commerce
  • Trigg County Public Schools
  • Todd County Public Schools

The team knew we would need to define key attributes of our project that would set us apart from the competition.  We knew we had three unique components of our project that would make our grant top notch. The first component would be the Breathitt Veterinary Center that was gifted to CCPS by Murray State University in February.  The second component would be the regional partnership of Christian, Trigg and Todd Counties.  The third component would be our physical proximity to Fort Campbell.  Each of these components brought a uniqueness to our grant.  

 

The grant dollars will allow our community to:

  • Renovate the CCPS Gateway Academy for Innovation & Technology and convert the Breathitt Veterinary Center into an extension of Gateway Academy.  These two facilities will allow CCPS to double student capacity in course work such as industrial maintenance, welding, law enforcement, biomedical science, video game design, and much more. 
  • HCC would gain an additional flexible training lab facility to allow for increased student capacity in their welding training program.
  • The grant also included equipment purchases and upgrades for Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, Transportation, Information Technology and Construction. 
  • A strategic marketing plan is also part of the grant to attract new students and adults into the programs offered at CCPS Gateway Academy or HCC.  

The hard work of the team paid off when it was announced during the May 17 Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee meeting that Christian County was awarded $4.2 million.  The partners of the grant would be leveraging $5.6 million comprised of cash and non-cash matches for a total project cost of $9.8 million.  Students and adults in our region will now have the opportunity to participant in career and technical pathways that will give them the tools necessary to be a part of a highly-skilled and viable workforce.  

 

by Angie Major

Christian County Chamber of Commerce

Workforce & Education Committee



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