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Simpson Co. Training Consortium receives $75,000 grant

The Simpson County Training Consortium, located in Franklin, was recently awarded a $75,000 Bluegrass State Skills Grant from the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet.

The matching grant could result in a total of $150,000 toward improving and promoting employment opportunities for the residents of Kentucky. It helps local business and industry provide training classes that can be utilized by the six local industries that make up the consortium. Consortia projects promote collaborative training initiatives for companies that have common training needs. They must be industry driven and in partnership between business, industry, education and government to maximize the effectiveness of the current and future workforce.

“This grant will allow our group to share training classes that will not only provide our industries a more skilled workforce but will also help lower overall training costs by sharing instructors and class facilities,” said Sara Bruner, president of the Simpson County Training Consortium.

The Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce, Western Kentucky University and the Franklin-Simpson Industrial Authority started the Simpson County Training Consortium two years ago. Classes are conducted at the Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Franklin campus.

According to Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Steve Thurmond, six industries are involved in the training consortium — Worldwide Technologies, Franklin Precision Industry, Harman, Berry Plastics, New Mather Metals and Toyo Automotive Parts. “We hope to have at least 10 consortium members by the end of this year,” Thurmond said.

Josh Benton, economic development representative with the Bluegrass State Skills Corporation,  expressed his enthusiasm for continued success of the Simpson County Training Consortium.

“We believe the consortium located in Franklin will become one of our most active training groups in the state. By utilizing state funds, business and industry will be able to develop their workforce in areas such as Communication Skills, Team Building, Supervisory and Management Development and Customer Service,” Benton said.

Dennis Griffin, executive director of the Franklin-Simpson Industrial Authority, said: “These training programs cultivate the most vital skills required to be effective employees. This type of program is a great fit for the community because it helps employees grow. We know how valuable our area employees are and training programs like this offer a great opportunity to invest in them.”

Dr. Sue Parrigin, WKU’s Workforce Training Center program manager, coordinates the grant program. Dr. James McCaslin, director of  Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Franklin campus, coordinates the training facility. Franklin-Simpson Industrial Consortium representatives Martin Jones and Judy Burr provide day-to-day administration of the program.

For information, contact Dennis Griffin at (270) 586-4477 or at fsindustry@bellsouth.net.

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