PAINTSVILLE – Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) and the Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for the Interapt TechHire Eastern Kentucky (TEKY) program on Monday on the Mayo campus of BSCTC.
“This is a historic day in the life of Big Sandy Community and Technical College, our Mayo Campus, Eastern Kentucky, Paintsville, and Johnson County,” said Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. “We are here to officially launch what started as an idea and has become the reality and the personification of regional transformation. What we are experiencing is the perfect example of a public-private partnership put into action and effectively working for our citizens. Our college, now the largest driver of higher education and workforce training in Eastern Kentucky, is proud to be just one piece of this amazing partnership that is changing lives.”
The Mayo campus opened in 1938 as one of the first technical and vocational schools in the nation. It helped fuel revolution of America’s economy, from coal, oil and natural gas, as well as other important skilled trades.
“Paintsville, in the past some have promised you a medical school, a pharmacy school, and who knows what, but I am here today to tell you that this institution – that has been with you on this same site for over 78 years and promised to bring you revitalization and transformation – has delivered, and this is just the beginning,” said Dr. Stephenson. “Soon we will announce the beginning of business incubation in Johnson County on our campuses, along with an initiative to assist young entrepreneurs launch their dreams of business ownership.”
TEKY is a public/private partnership designed to help further the growth of a technology ecosystem in Eastern Kentucky that will put the region’s workers on a fast track to becoming computer coders or other middle- to high-skill tech professionals.
Earlier this month, 50 interns, many of whom were dislocated workers from coal and/or supporting industries, started an intensive 33-week training program. Those who complete the training and assessments will be offered employment with Interapt’s Eastern Kentucky division.
“The same workforce that drove the coal economy over the past 100 years can now drive the information economy for the next 100 years,” said Ankur Gopal, founder and CEO of Interapt. “This is a monumental moment. I’m excited about what we have here. Eleven months ago, we started this technology workforce and the people of eastern Kentucky are up to the challenge.”
The Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), the regional workforce investment board serving 23 counties in Eastern Kentucky, received $2.75 million in an Appalachian Regional Commission Power Grant to sustain the TEKY program for three years with 200 participants (four 50-member cohorts).
“We have 50 interns partnering with us. They are hoping to be able to do what people in this region have not done before,” said Jeff Whitehead, executive director of EKCEP. “They are pioneering a new course for Eastern Kentucky and they have a group of partners supporting them with a unified vision.”
TEKY is an employer-led initiative that leads to jobs. More than 850 Eastern Kentuckians applied for the first cohort of participants.
Following the ribbon cutting, BSCTC unveiled new signage on the building housing the TEKY program.
“This signage shows that it’s a new day and new way to be employed in Eastern Kentucky,” said Dr. Stephenson. “This is the start of a sweeping transformation that will impact generations to come.”
For more information on Interapt’s TEKY program, visit interapt.com.