Our thanks to Dr. Juston Pate, President/CEO of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, for presenting during the first Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation (EHCIF) Facility Managers Meeting of 2024.
Before Dr. Pate’s remarks, EHCIF Vice President Andy Games discussed Made Here Elizabethtown, a website launched by EHCIF to offer more information about the abundant opportunities within the local manufacturing sector. The website enables users to explore a directory of local manufacturing employers and job postings, along with information about the community, including educational opportunities, healthcare, the housing market, arts, entertainment, and more.
Games also thanked local manufacturers for participating in the January edition of the local publication Elizabethtown Lifestyle Magazine. In the latest edition, which functions in part as a print asset to the Made Here Elizabethtown initiative, the magazine highlights several local employers within the manufacturing sector and beyond through feature stories, and includes a front-page feature about EHCIF.
During his remarks, Dr. Pate highlighted several initiatives pursued by the college to support regional manufacturing employers in recruiting and retaining talent. One notable initiative is the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, available to Kentucky residents with a high school diploma or those working on their GED, who do not already possess an associate degree or higher. The scholarship allows students to earn up to 60 credit hours tuition-free in high-demand career fields.
“We can immediately save you money,” Dr. Pate said. “The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship will pay for that tuition reimbursement and your company does not have to.”
Dr. Pate also touted the TRAINS Grant through ECTC. Designated by the Kentucky General Assembly, this grant aims to offer qualifying companies financial support for workforce training and assessment services for both existing and prospective employees. Administered by ECTC Workforce Solutions, the grant has the potential to reimburse up to 75 percent of the training costs.
“The number one way ECTC can help reduce your training expenses is the TRAINS Grant,” said Dr. Pate.
In addition, Dr. Pate discussed upcoming efforts by ECTC to promote opportunities within the regional advanced manufacturing sector. He said the college has hired a designated recruiter and has secured a Rural Postsecondary & Economic Development Grant to fund these efforts for the next four years.
“We recognize that to really meet the demand that we’re going to have in the workforce, particularly in the manufacturing sector, we’re either going to have to get a lot more people to move here or we’re going to have to keep a lot of people from moving out of here,” he said. “At the same time, the more awareness we can create as to what a manufacturing career really is, the more those who do stay here will choose that path.”
In addition to addressing ECTC’s initiatives supporting regional manufacturers, Dr. Pate shared updates on facility developments at ECTC. He discussed the secured Phase 1 Funding for the renovation of the college’s Occupational Technical Building, with plans for a complete renovation of the entire technical wing within the next six years. Dr. Pate also highlighted ongoing projects, including the construction of a new building at the college’s Leitchfield campus focused on healthcare and manufacturing, the establishment of a facility at the BlueOval SK Battery Park in Glendale for training new employees, the acquisition of the former Lincoln Trail Area Development District and Sylvan Learning Center buildings adjacent to the college, the construction of a 48-unit Family Scholar House on ECTC’s campus for student parents prioritizing those in high-demand careers such as healthcare and advanced manufacturing, the. establishment of the University Center for additional four-year degree programs in partnership with four-year colleges, and the expansion of the ECTC Science Building to enhance offerings in healthcare.
“Everything that happens at the college serves a greater purpose than just a building,” Dr. Pate said. “It’s a program, it’s a service, it’s the removal of a barrier, it’s getting people into supportive careers for themselves, your companies, and our community.”
To learn more about services offered through ECTC Workforce Solutions, visit elizabethtown.kctcs.edu/workforce-solutions.
For more information, or if interested in attending the next facility managers meeting, please contact the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation at 270-737-0300.