Gov. Beshear announces $1.2 million for HCTC Virtual Classroom Grant
Gov. Steve Beshear announced on Sept. 18 a $1.2 million grant for two virtual classrooms at Hazard Community and Technical College to a large crowd of community leaders, public officials, college employees and students. The equipment will be used for training in healthcare, coal, related technologies and other industries that support various career pathways including those leading to green jobs.
HCTC President/CEO Dr. Allen Goben said HCTC is excited about the purchase and installation of two 3-D Next Generation Virtual Reality Simulation Units because this grant will support workforce training and development in the area, while also enabling career exploration activities. The grant is due to a partnership between HCTC and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program.
Gov. Beshear noted, For our education system to be effective, our students must be equipped with the tools they need in a classroom that will adequately prepare them for the real world. With today s technology, we can create vastly advanced classrooms that provide simulations, presentations and specialized training that would not be possible in a traditional learning environment. There is a demand and need for this specialized training that will recruit young people to pursue careers in the coal, health care, and green industries. The funds from Gov. Beshear s Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Statewide Reserve will enable HCTC to provide students with the resources, training and programs to foster success in a highly competitive job market.
Ron Daley, HCTC Senior Director of Advancement and Governmental Relations, noted that an advantage of this program is its cost-effectiveness. It provides access to the most up-to-date information. The only other such equipment is in Bowling Green. We re so glad that Eastern Kentuckians now have access to this state-of-the art equipment, Daley said.
Gov. Beshear explained that with both a large, cube unit and a more portable unit both of which provide a multi-sensory experience the classrooms will provide flexibility and access to comprehensive information that will train students to become effective, knowledgeable and productive employees. Career exploration in technical fields for K-12 students will also be provided. This is as good as it gets folks, the governor said with a smile.
Jeff Whitehead, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Services (EXCEPT) Executive Director, said he was pleased to work with HCTC on this project. I can t tell you how many joint initiatives we have with HCTC and I really appreciate the college and the governor for their work to make this happen.
State Representative Fitz Steele told the crowd, You won t believe the impact this equipment will have on this college. Senator Brandon Smith praised HCTC for stepping forward to helping students. He publicly thanked HCTC Board of Directors Chair Greg Wells for flying the team to Bowling Green to investigate such a major project for the College.
Dr. Goben noted that the world is rapidly changing and the development of this kind of training is just what HCTC students need to train for future jobs. Nursing students can see how the heart works, coal mining students will utilize this for their training the possibilities are endless in how this kind of simulation equipment can be used. Our students will be very excited when they get their hands on this new purchase. It s a great time to be in education.