Caverna Ind., Hart Co. superintendents seek $5 million state work ready skills grant to support proposed $20 million college/career academy, say hundreds of students interested

Hart County News-Herald, Munfordville, March 30, 2017

Hart County and Caverna Schools apply for Work Ready Skills Initiative grant
Staff report

The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet received 41 project applications — totaling more than $165 million in requests — for second- round funding consideration through the
Commonwealth’s new $100 million statewide workforce development second fund, the Work Ready Skills Initiative.

Hart County and Caverna schools have applied for $4,985,376.94 to build and operate the Green River College and Career Academy in round two of the grant. The majority of the project is funded through matching funds provided by local industry, businesses, government agencies and the local school systems. The total project is estimated to cost $20,206,877.74.

The facility will be located on the grounds of the new Hart County High School and is projected to open in August 2018.

The summary for the grant reads as follows:

“The Green River College and Career Academy (GRCCA) will be able to offer multiple industry sectors and career pathways in the following areas identified by stakeholders as the greatest areas of need : Health Science Career, Welding Technology, Industrial Maintenance Technology, Business Education and Transportation Education-Diesel. GRCCA, a strong partnership between Hart County Schools, Caverna Independent Schools, local government, and postsecondary institutions, will meet the needs of the community and will serve as an authentic problem-based personalized learning center for K-12 students and adults. Creating a local facility will allow ALL students an opportunity to participate in either dual credit or meaningful certifications/credentials. Adult classes offered will allow employees an opportunity to become highly skilled wage earners, in turn, ensuring regional sustained growth and prosperity.”

Cornelius Faulkner, Superintendent of Caverna Independent Schools said, “The Work Ready Skills Initiative funds we have requested will provide much needed opportunities for not only our students but the entire workforce in this area. Our students and employable adults need access to college, career, and technical training that will prepare them for immediate employment.”

Amanda Abell, Assistant Superintendent of Caverna Independent Schools and Lead Grant Writer commented, “This collaborative effort between education, local government, businesses, and industry will strengthen our community, help secondary and postsecondary sectors reach their college and career readiness goals, and establish a skilled and life-ready workforce.”

Ricky Line, Superintendent Hart County Schools said “Creating a local facility will allow ALL students an opportunity to participate in career and technical training and innovative learning. We have over 350 freshman and sophomore students from Caverna Independent and Hart County High School that are interested in taking courses in a technical pathway. The Green River College and Career Academy will give EVERY student the opportunity to graduate from high school with either dual credit or meaningful certifications to ensure success in the workforce and/or postsecondary degrees.”

The Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee awarded approximately $65.5 million of the $100 million bond in the first round of the Initiative, announced in January. The Committee expects to award the funds, approximately $34.5 million, after reviewing applications and conducting interviews for round two. Interviews are scheduled for May 10 and 11 with awarding of grants on May 17.

“We were astounded by the number of applicants and the quality of the applications in the first round,” said Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner. “In the second round we are pleased to have a second opportunity to advance career and technical education offerings to citizens across the Commonwealth.”

Individual project funding requests range from $80,000 to $14.5 million. Proposals came from several state workforce areas and addressed a wide array of key industry sectors, including manufacturing, health, technology, transportation, and trades.

This bond fund infuses resources to expand career and technical education facilities and to upgrade equipment in those schools to current and future industry standards through local partnerships between private industry and educational institutions. The locally-driven initiatives will train and educate workers to meet the workforce needs of Kentucky’s employers now and in the future.
Eligible projects include: construction and equipping of a new facility to provide workforce training and education, renovation or enhancement of an existing facility, purchase of new or upgraded equipment, and first-year marketing expenses.

Applicants must provide at least a 10-percent financial match for all projects, and required partners include: private sector employers, public secondary institutions, and postsecondary institutions.

The 10-member Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee will review all applications for round two. The Committee includes cabinet secretaries for Education and Workforce Development, Economic Development, and Labor, the chair of the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB), four private-sector employers nominated by the governor, one member nominated by the President of the Kentucky Senate, and one member nominated by the Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives.

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