PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 27, 2017) – Kentucky Power on Monday awarded a $122,000 American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation grant for a workforce development program aimed to assist out of work coal miners find high-paying jobs.
The grant presented to the eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (eKAMI) will fund efforts to retrain skilled coal mining workforce for new careers. In partnership with Haas Automation of Oxnard, Ca., eKAMI’s training center in Paintsville provides cutting-edge technical training to students in preparation for employment in Advanced Manufacturing, an industry challenged with a global shortage of labor.
“A highly skilled workforce is an important component to our successful economic development efforts to revitalize eastern Kentucky,” said Kentucky Power President Matt Satterwhite. “We know our talented coal miners and steelworkers have skills that are transferrable to other industries. This program is an example of how working together to better our communities and provide long-term solutions to rebuild our region can benefit us all.”
The major grant was announced as the first class of eKAMI students begin their studies at the institute’s Paintsville facility. About 19 students earlier completed a 15-week pilot program in collaboration with Vincennes University in Indiana. Most of those graduates are now employed at the Winchester, Ky., location of Lockheed Martin, a US Department of Defense contractor.
“We are most appreciative of AEP and Kentucky Power’s early interest and ongoing support of our new Haas eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute,” said eKAMI Director Kathy Walker. “The training center provides the foundation for a brighter future in eastern Kentucky as we embark on the journey of rebuilding our economy, creating jobs and attracting sustainable industry to our region.”
Walker said as the institute grows, it will “provide the foundation for sustainable transformation, enabling us to shift the economic landscape of eastern Kentucky from mining dependency.”
The American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating companies, including Kentucky Power. The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education in science, technology, engineering, math and the environment and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger. Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, provides service to about 168,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties.