The Delta Regional Authority is investing more than $100,000 dollars in the Todd County Career Path Institute. The western Kentucky facility trains adults, college and high school students in welding, industrial maintenance and electrical networking. The money will go towards equipment for hands-on training.
DRA chairman Chris Masingill said workforce training and education is critical for attracting business leaders. "The number one question that business leaders ask about when they look to do an expansion or a location is that they really look at the skill level of our workforce. And so we want to continue to invest into programs, into locations, into partners that are really trying to move the needle on that."
The announcement Thursday was made on the same day Governor Matt Bevin's office awarded the institute with the 2016 Spirit of Kentucky Award recognizing regional partnership efforts.
Masingill said that was a coincidence, but he’s glad to know the Governor feels the same way about the institute. “We work collaboratively. It takes the governor and us, me as the federal co-chair, working collaboratively and we review these projects. So this project would not have gotten funded without the support of Governor Bevin.”
DRA is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 designed to bolster economic development.
In a news release about the Spirit award, Bevin's office notes Todd County suffers from low educational attainment, lower than average income levels and higher than average unemployment (at 9.3%). The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development says 25.8% of jobs in the county are in manufacturing or trade/transportation/utilities. Many of these jobs have been lost over the past 14 years due to downsizing, closures or relocations.
Bevin commended the training center for developing a skilled workforce and the county for partnering with neighboring Christian County and other initiatives.
"Through partnerships across county lines between business and industry, educational institutions, and community leaders, this project could be replicated in our other communities to promote and maintain a quality standard of living for our citizens," Bevin said.
According to the Hopkinsville Community College Facebook page, the Todd County Career Path Institute is a joint enterprise operated by HCC and Todd County Schools.