Media Contact: Nicole Burton
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2018) – Gov. Matt Bevin today joined Eastern Kentucky workforce development representatives, elected officials, and business leaders for the grand opening of the HAAS eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (eKAMI) in Paintsville.
The new 40,000-square-foot workforce training facility will offer 16-week training programs aimed at building a skilled workforce to attract advanced manufacturing to the Commonwealth and Appalachian region.
“This is an exciting day,” said Gov. Bevin. “For Kentucky to remain the center for excellence in America for engineering and manufacturing, we need a steady supply of the most qualified and highly trained workers. The opening of HAAS’ eKAMI, as well as its partnership with the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute, will provide the next generation of Kentucky’s skilled workforce with training opportunities in both HAAS CNC machines and robotics.
“Graduates of eKAMI will attract advanced manufacturers to Johnson County and the surrounding communities. Across the Commonwealth, in every region, Kentucky is moving forward and the future is very bright for our economy.”
eKAMI’s first class began in November 2017, with students ranging from age 18 to 55. The program utilizes state-of-the-art HAAS equipment for positions such as computer numerical control (CNC) machinist, as well as machine building and tool maintenance technicians in aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries.
Gov. Bevin was joined at the ribbon cutting by eKAMI director Kathy Walker, Johnson County Judge-Executive R.T. “Tucker” Daniel, and Gene Haas, founder of Stewart-Haas racing and Haas Automation.
“We’re thrilled to bring modern manufacturing to the mountains,” said Walker, who worked for 30 years in the coal industry before establishing the institute. “This is about diversifying the region’s economy and finding sustainable answers, about taking our hard-working Appalachian workforce of today and preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow.”
eKAMI was initially funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Gene Haas Foundation. Subsequently, it has received a $2.5 million grant from the Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mines, in addition to donations from the private sector.
Public and private grant funding provides students with scholarships covering the $11,000 tuition. The program is open to any individual seeking advanced manufacturing training and is expected to draw students from across Eastern Kentucky and surrounding states.
For more details about eKAMI, please visit www.ekyami.com.
A video of today’s event can be viewed on Gov. Bevin’s official Facebook page.