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3 KCTCS schools get $3.5M workforce grant for digital innovation and entrepreneurship

Appalachian Regional Commission grant

HAZARD, Ky. (March 20, 2017) — Hazard Community and Technical College, Big Sandy Community and Technical College and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College will receive a $3.5 million Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant as part of the Eastern Kentucky Coal County Transformation project.

next-logo-300x149The grant will allow the schools to launch a comprehensive, employer-driven workforce development program focused on building the digital economy and strengthening digital innovation and entrepreneurship across a 16-county region in Eastern Kentucky.

The project is in partnership with ARC, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) and Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP). All will work together to establish educational programs that develop workforce skills in emerging regional career clusters, such as cybersecurity, medical coding, and advanced manufacturing. The program will specially engage dislocated workers from the coal industry through targeted advertisements, and will provide adult basic education as needed to ensure that these individuals can participate in the training courses.

The program will identify and promote a number of digital innovation hubs, providing facilities and resources to encourage entrepreneurial activities.

Success coaches will be available to instill critical 21st century skills and provide support to nascent technology workers, and a Regional Committee will be established to monitor industry trends and best practices.

The project will serve 300 trainees and improve the operations of 30 existing businesses in the first two years of the award and will lay the groundwork for the development of a vibrant and lasting digital economic in the region.

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