Training more students more quickly will be one goal of the new Webster County-based West Kentucky Regional Training Center — a project created in a partnership between Madisonville and Henderson Community and Technical Colleges and the county governments of Union and Webster counties.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear was in Webster County on Wednesday to award a $472,000 Community Development Block Grant for the project, which will be used to convert a former Dotiki Coal location in Lisman into classrooms and laboratories which bill used to train students looking to attain a Commercial Drivers License, to become an electrical lineman or to work as a diesel mechanic.
“This site was one of the longest running coal mines in the region,” said Beshear. “With this project, we can continue that tradition of providing opportunities for this and surrounding counties. The goal is to be able to use former mine land to be able to train displaced miner for work in a new field. It’s about making sure everyone has an opportunity.”
The facility has already been approved to house the community colleges’ electrical lineman school and commercial drivers license program, which will be relocated to Webster County upon completion of the project, and the paper work has already been filed to move the diesel mechanics program, which is just awaiting approval.
“We are also just starting our aviation program at MCC,” said MCC President Dr. Cindy Kelley. “We have a helipad (at Dotiki) that could also be utilized for that program. At MCC, we believe it is our duty to make our communities grow.”
Kelley said that having the extra space inside the new facility will allow the program to train more students faster than is now possible at either HCC or MCC. The move will also open up new space in Henderson and Madisonville that could be used for other programs.
The expected opening date for the training center has yet to be announced.
The multi-building structure was built in 1971 to house the offices, shops and locker rooms of Dotiki Coal, which opened in 1967. The facility was in use in one form or another until the mine closed its doors permanently in 2019.
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