eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Inc. gets $2.5 million AML Pilot Grant

eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Inc. gets $2.5 million AML Pilot Grant

The Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) announced today that eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Inc. (eKAMI) has been given preliminary approval for a $2.5 million grant by the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement (OSMRE) for an advanced manufacturing training project.

The money would fund the establishment of an HTEC Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Paintsville, Johnson County, providing National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certified CNC skills training on state-of-the-art equipment to bridge the global skills gap in Advanced Manufacturing and prepare students for gainful employment as CNC machinists.

Up to $30 million in federal grant money was made available from the U.S. government’s General Fund through the 2016 AML Pilot program for pilot projects in Appalachian counties that have the potential to create long-term economic benefits. The eKAMI training would diversify the regional economy and present opportunities for unemployed individuals to obtain meaningful skills, and thus remain in the region.

Governor Matt Bevin, who has called the pilot program a tremendous one-time opportunity for Appalachian counties, said the training center will give workers essential new skills.

“As I travel the state, I hear repeatedly from employers about the shortage of workers with the skills needed to get the job done,” said Gov. Bevin. “In response to this need, we are determined to make Kentucky the undisputed center of manufacturing and logistical excellence in America. The work ethic and existing skills of folks in Eastern Kentucky will be a key component in our success. Initiatives like eKAMI are a great start, providing advanced manufacturing training in areas adversely affected by the downturn in the coal industry.”

U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05), Chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in securing the $30 million through the FY 2016 Omnibus appropriations bill. “I’m pleased that we can put federal dollars back into Eastern Kentucky in projects such as this that will provide jobs and long-term economic stability,” Rogers said.

Besides the eKami project, OSMRE has given preliminary approval for a $5 million grant for the city of Pikeville to build a 50,000-square-foot spec building on about 400 acres of abandoned mine land that city officials envision will become the Marion Branch Industrial Park.

The AML Pilot project is a joint effort by Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Department for Local Government, the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and the Energy and Environment Cabinet, Division of Abandoned Mine Lands.

eKAMI has applied for funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission to support the proposed project as well as to the HAAS Foundation. Additional partners providing assistance include Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) which is funding the training costs of unemployed participants from the 23-county region its serves up to $2 million.

Besides the acquisition and renovation of a facility, the funding will support the purchase of necessary equipment for instructional use and the first year of operational expenses. Ongoing operating and maintenance expenses are expected to be covered by employers’ funding of tuition and workforce development programs.

Counties that would benefit from the proposed project include: Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Perry and Pike. The program will be open to any individual seeking advanced manufacturing training and can be expected to draw students from multiple counties in eastern Kentucky and from surrounding states.

Now that the eKAMI project has been vetted by OSMRE, the AML Division will begin gathering documents required for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, develop plans, specifications and cost estimates, and ultimately seek a final Authorization to Proceed (ATP) from OSMRE.

Application forms for project submittals can be found at http://eec.ky.gov/Pages/ALM-Economic-and-Community-Development-Pilot-Program.aspx” target=”_blank”>AMLPILOT or by calling or emailing Mr. Bob Scott, Director, KY Division of Abandoned Mine Lands, 300 Sower Boulevard, Frankfort, KY 40601. 502-782-6761, BobF.Scott@ky.gov

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