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Bluegrass ADD partners with BCTC to elevate rural county

COURTESY OF THE BLUEGRASS AREA DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT 

July 2, 2024

Like many of Kentucky's rural counties, Estill County suffers from a lack of training opportunities, especially for those with limited transportation options. This "training desert" should concern everyone because it leaves residents who want to secure employment forced to leave the county or remain unemployed or underemployed. It also affects the county's success, reducing the population and the needed tax income to keep the county running—and in the case of Estill County, it leaves the county without qualified individuals to provide needed services. 

This became apparent after a discussion with the Estill County Judge/Executive's staff. Estill County's needs were specific: they needed CDL drivers for their sanitation department and road crew. Hearing the need, Bluegrass Area Development District (BGADD) Director for Workforce Services Tiffanie Reeves worked with Kentucky Career Center—Bluegrass—staff to identify a solution, a partnership with Bluegrass Community and Technical College's (BCTC) Workforce Solutions to provide a CDL training cohort. 

The goal is to identify six qualified individuals to receive CDL training while upskilling current staff. This small project will create a multi-level benefit by providing staff to fill needed vacancies, providing good-paying jobs to residents, and adding a small but noticeable influx of tax dollars to the community. 

When the project was announced, no one expected 23 people to sign up for these six coveted slots. The residents were excited at this opportunity to receive a certification in their own backyard, especially when the opportunity for employment would follow. Those not selected to participate in this special project will receive follow-up assistance from the Kentucky Career Center—Bluegrass—to assist with other employment or training opportunities. 

"I am determined to improve outreach and services to the rural counties of the Bluegrass," Reeves said. "I could not be more excited to do this in partnership with BCTC. We are already in discussion to create additional cohorts in other rural counties." 

The information meeting was held June 27, and training for those selected will begin in August. 

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