WASHINGTON –U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.9 million grant to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Versailles, Kentucky, to renovate an existing technological building at Hazard Community and Technical College in Perry County to house the College’s new Advanced Manufacturing and Construction Center of Excellence. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $970,000 in local funds and is expected to retain 610 jobs.
“The Trump Administration is working tirelessly to champion areas around the country that have been adversely impacted by the downturn of the coal industry, such as in Perry County,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The new Advanced Manufacturing and Construction Center of Excellence, to be located at Hazard Community and Technical College in Perry County, will provide opportunities for those in the coal community to receive the training they need to secure well-paying jobs and the project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will further expand and diversify the local economy.”
“Hazard Community and Technical College’s new Advanced Manufacturing and Construction Center of Excellence will provide training for those seeking work in the manufacturing, construction, and technology sectors and will support the College’s electrical program to prepare graduates for entry into the electrical field workforce,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “The project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will provide additional incentive for even more business to locate in Perry County, creating additional employment opportunities for graduates.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Kentucky River Area Development District, which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.
This project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program, through which EDA will award funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.
The funding announced today goes to one of Kentucky’s 144 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.