It was standing room only as United States Congressman Hal Rogers and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, along with Senate President Robert Stivers, Judge-Executive Mike Mitchell, KCEOC President Paul Dole, and Mayor David Thompson took to the stage Saturday morning.
The event, celebrating the upcoming Work Ready Training Center, was held Saturday morning at the new Knox County EMS facility. While festivities carried on in town with the Daniel Boone Festival, a festive atmosphere welcomed the formal announcement of millions of dollars to be poured into renovating the old Barbourville Nursing Home facility to house the new center, a collaboration between Southeast Community College, KCEOC and EKCEP.
“Workforce training has taken on a whole new perspective in this new digital economy,” said Congressman Hal Rogers.
“Rather than relying on railroads, highways and rivers, we are now transporting the raw material of this day and age by way of fiber optic material and satellite transmission. That’s why Governor Bevin and myself have worked diligently to right the ship of the Kentucky Wired project, the largest public private works project in the history of your state.”
“Kentucky has jumped from last to one in the country in connectivity. No one is ahead of you. Now what you do with that is up to you,” said Rogers.
“I realize one of the biggest lies we’ve told kids in this country for a long time, is that the moment you graduate high school, you need to go get a four-year degree. That’s not true,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “We need people with skilled trades.”
In addition to their speeches, Southeast Community College President Vic Adams gave more details about what the new center will offer, including advanced manufacturing, business and information technology, transportation, construction, and healthcare. Adams explained that the programs is designed to “fill orders” as business comes.
“If they come in and we need 10 CNC operators, we’re going to train 10 CNC operators for them quickly and get them into the workforce,” said Adams.
“Our best days are ahead of us in Eastern Kentucky and we have a lot of work to do,” said Rogers.