E.O. Robinson Intergenerational Training Center grand opening
“The E.O. Robinson Intergenerational Training Center was many years in the making, but the community’s time, ingenuity, and tenacity paid off,” noted Dr. Jennifer Lindon, president/CEO of Hazard Community and Technical College, during the grand opening celebration March 5 of the $7.1 million facility located at the Lees College Campus. She noted that funding came from community donations, business and industry donations, faculty, staff, and student donations, a donation from the E.O. Robinson Foundation, the Telford Foundation, a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, and Work Ready Skills Initiative dollars from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The 16,066 square foot facility houses the new Manufacturing Engineering Technology program and the Medical Assisting program.
Dr. Lindon quoted a study by Georgetown University that says 65 percent of all jobs in the U.S. require education beyond high school. In the 2019 list of fastest growing jobs in Kentucky, healthcare is in the top 50, but also positions like electrician, machinist, and industrial mechanic. “The E.O. Robinson Intergenerational Training Center will take the Lees College Campus to the next level and allow us to provide high-end technical training in healthcare and advanced manufacturing for the people of the region. The classrooms and labs are built to be flexible, as business and industry needs change. We will be able to provide fast-track, customized business and industry training, as well as targeted career pathway training for high school students,” she said.
KCTCS President Dr. Jay Box, who served as HCTC president from 2002 to 2007, noted, “The new E.O. Robinson Intergenerational Training Center is another step HCTC is taking to help ensure earning a college credential is available to people of this region. We all know that in today’s economy a high school diploma alone just doesn’t cut it with employers. Today’s careers require some education and training after high school. This doesn’t always mean a typical four-year degree. In fact, in most cases where there are multiple job openings, such as manufacturing and health care, employers are seeking people with industry specific credentials or an associate degree. That’s where this new facility can help the most because it will offer programs like manufacturing engineering technology and medical assisting,” he said.
Also speaking at the event were Jackson Mayor Laura Thomas, Breathitt Fiscal Court Representative Bridgette Fugate, HCTC Board of Directors Chair Bill Weinberg, Lees College Inc.'s Dr. Charles Derrickson, E.O. Robinson Mountain Fund's Sara Walter Combs, and State Representative Cluster Howard.
Thanks was extended to Ross Tarrant Architects and John Standafer and his construction team for seeing the project through.
HCTC has students from both Jackson Independent and Breathitt County High Schools taking advanced manufacturing training at the new facility. An eight-week class will begin March 16. And, HCTC has a full class of medical assisting students who are currently training.
“Our students will be ready for high paid, highly technical positions at companies like Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Juniper Health, and the Kentucky River Medical Center. They will work at Dajcor, an aluminum parts manufacturer newly opened in the Coalfields Industrial Park, as well as companies like Link Belt, Nestle, and Gateway,” noted Dr. Lindon.
The day of celebration included music by the Breathitt County Community Band and refreshments by Kelsey’s on Main.