Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Awards $400,000 to Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program

Press Release Date:  Thursday, December 14, 2006  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Michael Goins

Workforce Development funds to provide job training for employers in 23-county area

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher visited Hazard today to award $400,000 in statewide reserve funds to Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP).  The funds will provide continued employer-specific workforce training in 23 eastern and southeastern counties served by the program.

“Training and skills are necessary for Kentuckians to achieve a higher standard of living,” said Governor Fletcher.  “This funding is crucial as we answer the need to provide the best workforce to companies in the Appalachian region of our commonwealth.”

EKCEP, based in Hazard, provides a wide variety of workforce services, including on-the-job and customized training for employers and workers in Bell, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Wolfe counties.

“As our economy evolves, so must the level of education and job-training programs in the commonwealth,” said Education Secretary Laura E. Owens. “This funding will continue the job skills programs necessary to help our workforce in eastern Kentucky meet the challenges and needs of business and industry.”

EKCEP requested the additional $400,000 to meet the increased demand for job training by employers, including the region’s coal and natural gas industries.

“EKCEP realizes that workforce development has two sides – employers and job seekers,” said Johnson County Judge-Executive Tucker Daniel (R), chairman, EKCEP Board of Directors.  “By helping employers meet their workforce needs, EKCEP is also helping the job seekers in our area and in the long run is making a major contribution to the economic health of our region.”

“On behalf of our community, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to Governor Fletcher for awarding $400,000 in additional funds and his commitment to improving our area’s workforce,” said Rep. Brandon Smith (R-Hazard).  “This announcement is an early Christmas present to the people of our region and will further our efforts to recruit new jobs and new industry to eastern Kentucky.”

“By helping employers in our region find and train good employees, EKCEP is doing exactly what it should to promote the economic growth of eastern Kentucky.  We cannot grow our economy without a business-friendly environment and a skilled work force,” said Rep. Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook), House Majority Leader and chairman, EKCEP Workforce Investment Board.

“In order to be effective in workforce development, it is imperative to be seen as relevant, timely, and responsive to the business community,” said Mable Duke, executive director, EKCEP. “The growing demand for EKCEP’s business services is proof that EKCEP is providing the type of services that businesses need. We thank Governor Fletcher for recognizing the need for workforce development and providing us additional funding to accomplish that goal.”

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Labor and is administered by the Kentucky Department for Workforce Investment’s Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education Cabinet. State agency partners at the One-Stop Career Centers include the Office of Employment and Training, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office for the Blind, all agencies of the Department for Workforce Investment.

EKCEP, founded in 1968, operates the Job Sight network of One-Stop Career Centers, providing more than a dozen state and federal job-training programs to meet the needs of job seekers and employers. EKCEP serves a population of nearly a half-million people in a 23-county area in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky.