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Kentucky Opens New Training Center for Technical Careers

With nearly $15 million in state and local funding, Kentucky has established a new technical training center in Irvine to train students for work in computer science, IT, mechanics and other tech-integrated careers.

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Local and state officials held a grand opening for Kentucky's new Estill County Area Technology Center last week.
Photo from Estill County Board of Education Facebook
A new $14.7 million technology center in Irvine, Ky., will prepare area high school and college students for tech-related careers, a news release from the state said.

On Friday, Gov. Andy Beshear joined legislators and local education officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Estill County Area Technology Center, which will serve around 300 students from Estill, Powell and surrounding counties. The new center will offer skill-building courses in information technology, manufacturing, construction, mechanics, health sciences and computer science, as well as a virtual academy for students in Estill County.

“This is an investment in the people of Estill and Powell counties and in the future of the entire commonwealth,” the governor said in a public statement.

According to the news release, construction of the center was funded through $5 million from local taxes, $5.7 million from the state Work Ready Skills Initiative grant and $4 million from a federal U.S. Economic Development Administration grant. The governor’s office also added more than $740,000 to the state budget to cover the center’s operating expenses this year.

The Estill County Area Technology Center is one of many state-supported workforce development initiatives established over the past year to train workers for an increasingly digitized job market, where digital literacy has become a must across public- and private-sector industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings in computer science and other IT-related careers are projected to grow by at least 11 percent by 2029.

State Education Commissioner Jason Glass said policymakers’ investments in the new 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,” he said in a public statement. “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.”