New life is coming to the old Barbourville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center facility on Shelby Street in Barbourville. Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College will begin offering fast-track education opportunities in “industrial technology, computerized manufacturing and machining, electrical technology, welding, fiber optics, medical assisting, nurse aid, medical coding, and various workforce training areas,” according to a statement from Southeast today.
The college is partnering with Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) and KCEOC Community Action Partnership to renovate the former nursing home to create the Barbourville Work Ready Training Center.
“I am thrilled that this project is now funded and will soon be a game changer for our area to have a highly skilled workforce based on employers demands,” said KCEOC President and CEO Paul Dole. “It has taken a lot of hard work by KCEOC Community Action Partnership staff and our key partners Southeast Kentucky Community Technical College along with EKCEP. This facility will give Southeast Kentucky Technical College the capability to provide a wide range of training with high tech ability.”
Earlier Monday, a United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced his department’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $3 million, to be matched with $2.3 million in additional federal and state money, for the project. “Through the efforts of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, the National Council for the American Worker, and this investment in a Kentucky workforce training facility, the Trump Administration is creating new training opportunities for American workers, especially those impacted by the closures of coal-fired power plants,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in the release.
“I think it’s great. I think it’s great that KCEOC once again took a building that has been vacant and will be bringing jobs back into Barbourville,” said Mayor David Thompson.
“We have been anticipating this announcement for a while now, with funding secured this is a major development for our county and surrounding counties. The opening of the Barbourville Work Ready Training Center in Knox County will give residents access to employer driven certifications, what this means is that if there is a need for a targeted skill set this facility will be able to offer fast track targeted educational opportunities to fill that need,” said Knox County Judge-Executive Mike Mitchell. “We are excited for the opportunities this will bring for our young people in their future careers as well. The training center will have dual credit programs for high school students during normal school hours as well. This will enable Knox County to grow our workforce and in turn strengthen our economy and provide a better quality of life for our residents. We are extremely grateful for the work that KCEOC, Southeast Kentucky Community Technical College and EKCEP have put into making this a reality. We would also like to thank Congressman Hal Rogers and Senator Mitch McConnell for their support during this process. It is refreshing to see this level of support for the trades.”
“This infrastructure investment will attract further investment to an Opportunity Zone.”
“This 37,000 square-foot facility will house employer-driven, fast-track education in industrial technology, computerized manufacturing and machining, electrical technology, welding, fiber optics, medical assisting, nurse aid, medical coding, and various workforce training areas,” according to a statement from Southeast President Vic Adams.
“Fast-track education is important, especially in an area that has been hit hard by layoffs,” says Adams in the release. “Our programs target people who need to earn a credential and return to work quickly. As these workers will tell you, the bills don’t stop coming just because your paycheck has.”
Jeff Whitehead, Executive Director of EKCEP, added “This training center will be a hub of work and career-related training. It will develop the talent that will support and fuel economic growth in a part of EKCEP’s region that is ripe for expansion.”
The facility will also house dual credit courses for students from Barbourville Independent and Knox County high schools.
Renovation construction is expected to begin in October and is expected to take about a year, in hopes of enrolling students for Fall 2020.
The project was made by the through efforts by the Cumberland Valley Area Development District, and is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program.