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BSCTC receives $1 million in grants for Broadband Technology Center

COLLEGE HAS RECEIVED $3.2 MILLION IN GRANTS SECURED FOR PROJECT

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced $1 million in grants for the construction of the Broadband Technology Center on the Pikeville campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC).

The $1 million is comprised of a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

The best way to predict the future is to create it, said Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of BSCTC. We have embraced the vision put forth by Congressman [Hal] Rogers and Governor [Steve] Beshear. The Broadband Technology Center will serve as a catalyst to community and economic development in Eastern Kentucky, and it will serve as the standard for broadband and fiber optic training in the southeast United States.

So far, BSCTC has secured more than $3.2 million in grant funding for the $4.5 million project. Earlier this month, the U.S. Economic Development Agency awarded more than $2.2 million for the project.

Dr. Stephenson said the collaboration of agencies such as SOAR, One East Kentucky and regional chambers are blurring county lines and promoting unification in vision.

We know that a better Eastern Kentucky starts with us, he said. Our goal is to change our region, one student, one opportunity at a time.

The Broadband Technology Center will be a 45,000-sqaure-foot facility that will house BSCTCs Fiber Optic Training, Fast Track IT and Computer Information Technology programs. The college was the first in Eastern Kentucky to start a certified Fiber Optic Training program endorsed by the Fiber Optic Association. The program has attracted national attention and students have enrolled from multiple states.

Through an innovative stackable credential model, students can work towards an associate degree.

Dr. Stephenson said the project would not be possible without the leadership of Congressman Hal Rogers, Governor Steve Beshear and Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region).

If we want to accomplish something this large in scope, we need the support of those in leadership positions, he said. The congressman, governor and SOAR have listened and allowed us to plan for our future. In the words of Congressman Rogers, we must plan our work and work our plan. Our plan is to influence and bring about change that will elevate the quality of life of all who live, work and invest in Eastern Kentucky.

Dr. Stephenson also expressed his appreciation to the University of Pikeville and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) who will partner with the college on the Broadband Technology Center.

Were in this together, said Dr. Stephenson. We all share a passion for the possible in Eastern Kentucky.

To learn more about the Broadband Technology Center, contact Kelli Hall, Pikeville campus director and director of Workforce Solutions and the Kentucky Coal Academy, at (606) 218-1275 or email kelli.hall@kctcs.edu.