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Gov. Beshear Celebrates Grand Opening of Technology Center Serving Estill and Powell Counties

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On Friday, Gov. Andy Beshear celebrated the grand opening of a $14.7 million technology center that will serve high school and technical college students and provide training for displaced workers seeking new career paths.

Gov. Beshear joined Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Jason Glass, Senate President Robert Stivers, Senator Brandon Storm, Dr. Koffi Akakpo, President of Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), and local leaders from Estill and Powell counties for the ribbon cutting.

“I’m here today as your Governor, but I’m also here as a father of two young kids,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want for them what I want for all of our kids: the chance to learn and grow into the best adults they can be, and the opportunity to have productive careers that provide for them and their families. My administration will always put education first, and I appreciate the forward thinking of leaders that laid the groundwork for this incredible project.”

The Estill County Area Technology Center (ATC) will serve around 300 students from Estill, Powell and surrounding counties. The 40,000-square-foot ATC will house six different career and technical programs and will also be the new home of the Estill County Success/Virtual Academy. Construction funding for this facility in the amount of $14.7 million consisted of:

•$5 million in District Building Funding financed by local tax dollars through the passage of the “Recallable Nickel”;

•$5.7 million from the State Work Ready Skills Initiative Grant; and

•$4 million from a federal U.S. Economic Development Administration grant.

Gov. Beshear’s Better Kentucky Budget also included more than $740,000 to cover the facility’s operating expenses this year.

“I am happy to see the Kentucky General Assembly investing in the expansion of career and technical education in Kentucky,” said Commissioner Glass. “Technical centers, like the new Estill County Area Technology Center, are key to preparing the future workforce of Kentucky. Our students will develop the latest and most in-demand skills in high demand areas including health and computer sciences. It’s a win for our students who will be gaining the skills they need for exciting careers and a win for our communities which will have the trained workforce they desperately need to keep growing.”

“Today’s celebration is the culmination of a dream that started over 30 years ago. The Estill County ATC has been the priority project of our districts’ $35 million facility plan,” said Estill County Superintendent Jeff Saylor. “This facility will provide Estill and Powell County students with training opportunities in high wage/high demand careers available right here in Central and Eastern Kentucky. We are thankful that the Governor has made time in his busy schedule to be with us today for this historic event.”

Powell County Superintendent Dr. Anthony Orr thanked everyone who worked to make the project possible and to ensure it would include students in the broader region.

“As part of the Powell County Schools, it has been an honor for me, our board team and our staff to partner with our colleagues in Estill County on this project,” said Superintendent Orr. “Mr. Saylor’s leadership and the leadership of the Estill County Board of Education and staff have been phenomenal, and yet none of this could have happened without the support of Gov. Beshear, our state legislators and the Kentucky Department of Education. As we see industries grow in our region, we know there will be a call for trades and craftspeople to keep the literal and economic engines running. This ATC provides the opportunity for our students and community to be a part of and benefit from that work. We are grateful on behalf of our community.”

The ATC will provide several program areas and career pathways for high school students which include:

•Advanced Manufacturing/Maintenance Mechanic;

•Construction/Industrial Electrician;

•Diesel Mechanics/Small and Medium Truck Repair;

•Engineering/Project Lead the Way;

•Health Sciences/Nurse Aid; and

•Informational Technology/Computer Science and Networking.

Funding will also allow BCTC to offer new opportunities for students, such as training for displaced workers seeking new career paths, dual-credit opportunities for high school students and post-secondary evening classes for community and technical college students.

“We want to congratulate Superintendent Saylor and the Estill County School District for making this valuable facility a reality for the students of Estill and Powell counties,” said President Akakpo. “BCTC is excited to partner with you in providing education and training that will empower students of all ages to realize their dreams and develop their communities.”

“This is an investment in the people of Estill and Powell counties and in the future of the entire commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear.

(provided by the Office of Gov. Andy Beshear)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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