Area schools and districts have received nearly $8 million in funding from the Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee to expand workforce training programs.

Barren County Schools got the most funding locally, receiving $6,840,000, according to a press release Wednesday from Gov. Matt Bevin's office.

Superintendent Bo Matthews said the plan is to split the funding nearly in half, with $3.2 million going to new equipment for its tech and other programs and with $3.6 million going toward building a facility for a new diesel shop program.

"We're talking about a facility upgrade inside and out," he said.

This will include new state of the art materials for all existing career readiness classes like information technology, health sciences and carpentry.

While these upgrades would be applied to the district's area technology center, there are plans to share these improvements with the Career and Technical Education facility currently construction, which, at an estimated cost of $14 million, is being funded separately, Matthews said.

The district aims to attach the facilities, both of which are on Barren County High School's campus, to each other, he said.

"We're going to be working on ways to combine the buildings into one facility," he said.

The district is working on laying the facility's foundation and plans to have it up and running in about a year and a half, Matthews said.

The diesel shop will include storage space for diesel trucks and tractors as well as equipment needed to teach students how to work on diesel systems, he said.

In the near future, the district will also be making its work readiness classes available to students at Allen County and Metcalfe County Schools who want to take courses their districts don't offer, Matthews said.

The district currently allows students in Caverna Independent Schools, Glasgow Independent Schools and Hart County Schools to use their programming, he said.

"We wanted to become a hub of this kind of programming," he said.

Locally, other beneficiaries include Allen County Career & Technical Center, which received $328,700, Bowling Green High School, which received $77,520, the Warren County Area Technology Center, which received $557,726 and Southcentral Community & Technical College, which received $179,000, according to the release.

In total, 25 Kentucky projects received $65.5 million worth of funding, according to a release from the Education & Workforce Development Cabinet.

Launched in July 2016, the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative is aimed at growing a "highly trained, modernized workforce to meet the needs of employers, grow the state's economy and promote sustainable incomes for Kentuckians," the release said.

Eric Keeling, principal for the Warren County Area Technology Center, said the money will help fund the construction and enclosing of a 4,000-square foot outdoor courtyard at the school to be outfitted with equipment for the robotics and advanced manufacturing programs.

"This is a huge opportunity," Keeling said. "Juniors and seniors at the WCATC can earn up to one year of college credit in our building."

The money will also boost the current On Track car-building initiative between the school, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, in which two teams, one of high school students and the other of college students from SKYCTC, compete to rebuild donated cars for the Holley Performance Products LS Fest now in its second year.

According to Elisa Brown, assistant principal at Bowling Green High School, the school will use the funding to expand its medical arts program.

"Our goal is to update the equipment in those rooms so students can be trained on 21st century materials and equipment," she said. "We know this will give them an edge with employers."

This upgrade is part of a plan to open a medical arts academy, which would include courses on phlebotomy, EKG technology, fire science and EMT not currently offered, at the high school by fall 2017, she said. 

 — Follow reporter Jackson French on Twitter @Jackson_French or visit bgdailynews.com.

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General assignment reporter focusing on features and regional coverage.

Charles Allen Mason is the business reporter for the Daily News. He is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a 1977 graduate of West Virginia University in Morgantown. In his spare time he enjoys reading, music, sports and cooking.

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