U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) applauds a $2.75 million federal grant awarded to the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) in Hazard, Kentucky to create 160 new jobs and train 200 new workers for technology-based careers. The competitive award for EKCEP's new TechHire Eastern Kentucky (TEKY) Initiative: Developing a Technology-Driven Workforce project, was announced today by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) as part of the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative that Rogers helped fund through his role as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
"In this new technology age, our workforce in Eastern Kentucky needs to be a well-trained 'tech-force' to capitalize on the growing number of technology-based companies and jobs. With this grant, we will be able to fill positions for a private company that is gearing up to do high-tech work in our region, utilizing the best workforce in the country," said Congressman Rogers. "This federal funding complements the grassroots efforts of SOAR - Shaping Our Appalachian Region, as we work to revitalize southern and eastern Kentucky and rebound from the devastating loss of more than 11,000 coal mining jobs over the last eight years. Specifically, TEKY will dovetail nicely with the KentuckyWired project that will expand high-speed, high-capacity broadband through every county in our region, opening the door for new high-tech opportunities."
The TEKY project will serve young adults aged 17-29 who are out of school, and older adults who are unemployed, laid-off, or underemployed by offering several avenues to industry-led accelerated technology training, paid work-based internships, and employment opportunities in information technology (IT) careers.
“The projects and awards we are celebrating today help communities persevere and flourish as they deal with the challenges presented by the coal economy,” said Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “POWER invests in jobs and workers, and develops and implements strategies and projects that can help transform these respective regions, states, and our nation.”
EKCEP's comprehensive workforce development initiative will train 200 new workers, create 160 jobs, and bolster existing and emerging sectors that rely on a skilled IT workforce in 23 Eastern Kentucky counties.
"Appalachian communities are actively engaged in creating diverse local economies that are resilient, sustainable and strong." said ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl. "Local leaders and entrepreneurs will use these investments to develop, direct and implement economic diversification initiatives which will have long lasting impact."
In total, the ARC and EDA announced $13.7 million for four projects in southern and eastern Kentucky. Through his role as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rogers has worked to increase federal investments in distressed central Appalachian coal communities. In the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill, funding for ARC was $51 million above the President's budget request and funding for EDA's program to assist coal mining communities was 50% higher than in 2015.
Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit Congressman Rogers' online office at http://halrogers.house.gov or follow him on Twitter or Instagram @RepHalRogers, and on Facebook.