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Work Ready grant approved

In the regular meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education Thursday night the Board recognized several students for their achievements and gave approval for a grant application that would help high school students obtain a welding certification – helping them find work after graduation.

To open the July meeting 20 students were recognized as award recipients through the District’s reward program.

One student from each grade level at each school were selected based on their academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership and citizenship.

The students were awarded a cash prize based on their grade level that will go in to a special account. Upon graduation from high school the students will be able to withdraw the funds, with the money intended be used to go toward furthering their education.

In all, over $10,000 was deposited into the accounts this year as part of the program, which has been in place since 2002.

Dr. Jason Creekmore and McCreary Central Principal Sharon Privett asked for permission to apply for a grant through the recently announced Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative.

The program, launched by Governor Matt Bevin and Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner, will create a $100 million statewide bond program aimed at building a highly trained, modernized workforce in the Commonwealth to meet the needs of employers and promote sustainable incomes for Kentuckians.

Creekmore and Privett asked the Board to approve their application to expand welding instructional bays at the high school to accommodate more students getting their work-ready certification in welding, expanding their post-school employment opportunities.

With five bays currently, the grant would ask for funding to expand to 18 bays, more than tripling the capacity.

The expanded bays would allow for high school students to get certified during the day, and through a partnership with KCTCS, college and adult education students could get certification during evening hours.

It was estimated that the program could see up to 72 graduates of the course in one year alone.

It would be a win-win situation for the District, Privett said, as the partnership with the community college would open up opportunities for high school students to take advantage of the culinary program offered at the McCreary campus as part of dual-enrollment.

Board Vice-Chair Debbie Gibson endorsed the application, stating there was no “down side” she could see.

The motion passed 3-0. (Board members Brandon Kidd and Nelda Gilreath were unable to attend the meeting due to other commitments.)

Updates were also provided to the Board concerning the two major construction projects in the School District; namely the roof replacement at the middle school, and the Guaranteed Energy Saving upgrades being installed in every school.

Melinda Joseph-Dezarn with Ross Tarrant Architects informed the Board that the roof replacement is on schedule, with all shingles installed. The representative for Kentuckiana General Contracting also noted that the detail work, such as soffits and gutters should be completed by the end of this week.

The Board approved the first payment of $587,099 to the contractor for the work.

All mechanical equipment has been installed, with heat pumps in the classrooms being activated last week. Work on the kitchens, lunchrooms and gyms were to start this week.

“It’s going to be down to the wire, but we knew that when we started this project,” the Board was told. “But we have a path. Air (conditioning) will be on when we get back to school.”

The Board also approved a payment to the contractor for the Baseball and Softball complex improvements. The vast majority of the work has been completed and ready for use.

The next meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education will be on Thursday, August 25 at 6:30 p.m.

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