College partnership could bring jobs to area

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

Several colleges across the mountains are helping with "home work" -but it's not what you might think.

It's a partnership between the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program and most of the community colleges in our area.

Organizers hope it will bring jobs to the mountains.

In an area known for its natural beauty, the mountains have made it more difficult to bring jobs to Kentucky.

"Two of the biggest obstacles that have faced large scale economic development and job creation in Eastern Kentucky has been infrastructure and lack of work force," said Joshua Ball, with the Distance Earning Initiative.

That led to the creation of a new program called the Distance Earning Initiative. Leaders want to bring jobs to the mountains so folks can work from home through the internet.

"Hopefully they'll be able to earn a sustainable wage, stay in the mountains, and do what they've been trained to do," said Ball.

Officials at local community colleges are working with those companies.

"We are identifying the type of skills that these major companies need, and then we will provide the training to those individuals so they can land those jobs," said Ron Daley, Director of Advancement and Government Relations at Hazard Community and Technical College.

But they said working together to improve the region is important.

"The key to the success of the program simply are the partnerships and collaborations that we can establish through the program simply through business and industry," said Steve Greiner, President of Hazard Community and Technical College.

"Our most valuable resource in Eastern Kentucky is our people and our work ethic, and Telework can really promote that," said Ball.

Thirty people have already interviewed for jobs.

Program leaders have noted almost one-thousand folks across the region interested in the program, and they hope that number will continue to grow.

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