ASHLAND, Ky. — Ashland Community and Technical College and the Ashland Alliance were two of several recipients of economic development grants dispersed throughout eastern Kentucky via Kentucky Power Co. on Tuesday.
The grants, which totaled $400,700, were dispersed to 12 projects. The awards are a part of the Kentucky Power Economic Development Growth Grants and the Kentucky Power Economic Advancement Program.
The Alliance was given $17,500 through KEAP for a project to seek build-ready certification at the EastPark industrial site.
“For us, this is going to be the first build-ready site in all of eastern Kentucky,” Alliance President/CEO Tim Gibbs at ACTC said Tuesday after receiving the funds.
Gibbs explained the five-year program allows the Alliance to have the site ready to go, including building layouts and financing plans.
“It gives you a six-month head start during a development project. If you complete this build-ready project, you can go to a company and say, ‘We can get you in six months quicker,’” he said.
ACTC received a $25,000 grant through KEAP to purchase equipment for its fiber-optics training program. The ACTC Foundation was also given $16,500 for initiatives that focus on economic development and energy-efficient programs throughout the school.
“It’s a tremendous help,” said Willie McCullough, ACTC dean of Resource Development and External Affairs.
Brad Hall, Kentucky Power manager of external affairs, said the company sees the grants as ways to create new jobs and opportunities in the area. He said the company has invested more than $2.5 million in strategic economic development initiatives since about 2014.
He said the company has already seen benefits of the investments, citing the announcement of Braidy Industries, a $1.3 billion aluminum mill coming to Greenup County.
“That program is something that was a benefit of not just us, but others, of course. But our programs have helped prepare these sites and helped get the region’s work force ready,” he said.