BCTC Danville awarded $2.7M for advanced manufacturing center

Danville’s Bluegrass Community and Technical College campus has been awarded more than $2.7 million in state funding to build an advanced manufacturing center.

“We are very excited,” Campus Director Erin Tipton said. 

The funding is coming from the much-publicized $100 million Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative that was launched by Gov. Matt Bevin in July 2016.

BCTC Danville originally requested $5 million to build the center. 

In order to be eligible for the grant funding, projects had to have 10 percent of the requested funds provided from local sources. In BCTC’s case, local governments, businesses and other agencies committed more than the minimum $500,000.

In December, BCTC decreased the amount it was requesting to $4.5 million “because the community stepped up in a big way and gave us a 13-percent match,” Tipton previously said. 

Tipton said she is proud of the way the community came together in order to help fund the project and help the school secure funding for the project.

The matching contributors are the City of Danville, Boyle County Fiscal Court, Mercer County Fiscal Court, City of Harrodsburg, Harrodsburg-Mercer County Industrial Development Authority, Stanford-Lincoln County Industrial Development Authority, local and area industries and banking institutions, she said. 

The total amount committed by local partners is $650,000, Tipton said. 

“This is wonderful news for the community and workforce,” Mayor Mike Perros said.

Perros said he was glad the city played a roll and should be proud of the accomplishment. 

“This is a demonstration of what can be accomplished when a group of people come together,” Judge-Executive Harold McKinney said. 

McKinney called it a “win-win-win” situation — a win for the students who are able to be trained, a win for employees and a win for the local governments who will reap tax benefits.

Tipton said BCTC will now begin working to build its advanced manufacturing center, which would effectively double the college’s capacity for graduating students in the fields of advanced manufacturing technology, electrical technology and industrial maintenance technology — areas expected to be in high demand from area manufacturers in coming years.

Tipton said BCTC will be looking at raising more funds for the project in the future.

The BCTC project is one of 25 that were funded through the first round of the Work Ready Skills grant program. The 25 projects are spread across all 10 of Kentucky’s local workforce areas, with awards ranging from $30,780 to $15.2 million, according to a news release from the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

“The projects include construction and renovation of facilities and the purchase of new equipment aimed at providing workforce training and education in Kentucky’s top five growth sectors of advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, business services and information technology, healthcare, and construction trades,” according to the release.

“The Work Ready Skills Initiative has created a tremendous buzz and energy around the whole state among employers, educators and elected officials. Everywhere I go, people are excited about the opportunity to improve their communities through education and careers in technology in high-demand sectors. These great jobs are waiting to be filled by qualified Kentuckians and that’s what this initiative is all about,” said Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner, who chairs the Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee, which was in charge of selecting grant recipients.

In August, the 10-member committee “received 117 pre-applications totaling nearly $565 million in requests,” according to the news release. “They spent the last six months reviewing proposals and interviewing applicants from across Kentucky to select the recipients. A second round will award about $34 million later this year.”

The 25 successful grant applicants in order of the amount awarded are:

• Jefferson Community & Technical College – $15,200,000

• Barren County Board of Education – $6,840,000

• Boone County Schools – $6,840,000

• Paducah Public Schools – $3,800,000

• Somerset Community College – $3,800,000

• Shelby County Schools – $3,233,049

• Bluegrass Community & Technical College – Leestown – $3,040,000

• West Kentucky Community & Technical College – $3,040,000

• Hazard Community & Technical College – $2,888,000

• Owensboro Community & Technical College – $2,858,244

• Bluegrass Community & Technical College – Danville – $2,736,000

• Martin County Area Technology Center – $2,736,000

• KCEOC Community Action Partnership – $1,824,000

• Caldwell County Schools – $1,520,000

• Green County Board of Education – $1,520,000

• MMRC Regional Industrial Development Authority / Maysville CTC – $1,140,000

• Jessamine County Schools – $760,000

• KY Tech – Warren County Area Technology Center – $557,726

• Corbin Independent Schools – $382,149

• Allen County Career & Technical Center – $328,700

• Brighton Center, Inc. – $227,213

• Southcentral Community & Technical College – $179,000

• Bowling Green High School – $77,520

• Nelson County Area Technology Center – $64,526

• Lee County Area Technology Center – $30,780