The Madison County Fiscal Court and the city of Richmond both received a $480,000 community development block grant from the Kentucky River Foothills Development Corporation (KRFDC).

These funds will allow the corporation to build an 8,564 square foot training facility at Eastern Kentucky University and will be modeled after the Residences at the Career Gateway in Columbus, Ohio. It will also be similar to local places such as the EKU Scholar House and Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women.

According to the press release, sent out by the Department of Local Government (DLG), the facility, to be named the Workforce Pathway at Kit Carson Commons, will "provide high-quality income based housing, supportive services, training and job placement for Madison County residents."

Vicki Jozefowicz, the chief administrative officer for Kentucky River Foothills, said the facility will provide 30 two and three bedroom apartments. The apartments will give priority to low-income single parent veterans who are pursuing self-sufficiency goals through attending college at any accredited institution.

Second priority will be given to low-income single parents who are pursuing self-sufficiency goals through attending college. Supportive services will be provided to assist the tenants in meeting their goals. Affordable rents will be charged, and the project will also accept rental subsidies such as Section 8, TBRA, VASH and others.

It will also provide a workforce training center that will include three classrooms, offices, space for mock interviews and a participant workroom with computers, printers and other items needed for assembling resumes and completing program assignments.

Each participant will receive training in blood-borne pathogens, CPR/first aid, workplace safety, essential workplace skills, job search skills, communication skills and conflict resolution, to name a few.

EKU President Michael Benson said the Workforce Pathway at Kit Carson Commons was another opportunity to help people attain better circumstances and potentially invite more non-traditional students to pursue higher education.

"Eastern Kentucky University is working with a group of exceptional partners to bring the 'Workforce Pathway at Kit Carson Commons' to the Richmond/Madison County community," Benson said. "The collateral impact of this project will result in social, economic and educational benefits that only come from such coordinated team efforts. The 'Kit Carson Commons' project will innovatively combine housing opportunities that prioritize single parent veterans working toward self-sufficiency and education, along with an on-site workforce training facility that will prepare low-income trainees from throughout the community for careers in industry, manufacturing and other employment fields where they can earn living wages. This project, together with the Eastern Scholar House, demonstrates the university's commitment to provide opportunities across a broad spectrum for all individuals seeking to better their circumstances, expand their skills and pursue their dreams."

DLG Commissioner Sandra K. Dunahoo said in the release, "The Workforce Pathway at Kit Carson Commons will help create a talent pipeline that will connect Madison County residents with affordable housing as well as the targeted training they need to capture the attention of Madison County employers. I look forward to seeing lives transformed by this project, and I'm pleased to award these funds today."

Senator Jared Carpenter said that at the start of 2020, at least a hundred residents will receive training and support through the facility and said it is something to celebrate.

Several sources contributed to the $9.6 million project including the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, EKU, Kentucky Housing Corporation HOME Investment Partnerships program, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and Kentucky River Foothills Development Corporation.

Madison County Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor said that this facility will help to ensure a strong and viable workforce within the county.

"The only way to be competitive from an economic development standpoint is to ensure we have a strong and viable workforce," Taylor said. "Madison County Fiscal Court appreciates our partnership with EKU and the city of Richmond as we create an outside of the box approach to developing talent from within our county to attract and existing businesses enhance our workforce talent pool."

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.

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