Hundreds of people with disabilities in eastern Kentucky and the Louisville area are expected to benefit from a new federal grant. The funds will be used to better connect academic and career courses with support services.
Kentucky is one of only four states to receive the $4.4 million grant. Helga Gilbert, with the State Office for the Blind, says the emphasis is on jobs related to health care, information technology, and manufacturing. “Those are three areas that we’ve determined are seeing high growth in Kentucky and there’s a lot of opportunity for training and jobs in those areas,” explained Gilbert.
Some of the funds will go to hire career pathway coordinators. The funds, spread out over five years, are specifically for people in 23 eastern Kentucky counties and the Louisville area. Gilbert says five year projections have been made for training and job placement. “If we look at both the EKCEP area and the Kentuckiana works area, it’s a little under 2,000 people who will be trained," Gilbert said. "In terms of employment outcomes, we hope about 1,400 people will be impacted with jobs in these high growth areas.”
Two kickoff summits are planned for the first of next year. Gilbert says the pilot program, if proven successful, could eventually be used in other states.