BARBOURVILLE - The Appalachian Regional Commission announced recently a grant to KCEOC Community Action Partnership, Inc. in Gray for the Workforce Training Center project. The project will construct a Work Ready Training Center (WRTC) and offer trade, certificate, and post-secondary education provided by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. Fast-track programs will allow local and distance students to receive training in the fields of healthcare, technology, advanced manufacturing, and transportation/logistics.

A partnership between KCEOC and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program will enable the WRTC to begin attaining goals and outcomes within the first three months after completion of construction.

The new WRTC is expected to create 10 jobs in faculty and staff, while improving 500 workers and serving 1,400 students.

Additional funding for the project comes from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The announcement is one of 54 investments totaling $44.4 million via ARC's POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, a Congressionally funded opportunity targeting federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America's energy production.

Additional support for the Work Ready Training Center is provided by $3 million from the Economic Development Administration and $1.84 million from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

"I congratulate KCEOC Community Action Partnership for being an FY 2019 POWER grantee, and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community," said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. "POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they diversify economies, invest in growth-oriented infrastructure, train a next-generation workforce and ingrain resiliency and hope into their local fabric. Projects like this help ensure a prosperous future for Appalachia."

KCEOC is one of over 1,000 community action agencies across the country, whose primary mission is to address the causes of poverty. KCEOC, established in 1964, provides educational, energy efficiency, vocational, and emergency services to over 8,000 individuals across 16 counties in southeastern and south central Kentucky.

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