• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

EDA discusses youth job training

The Woodford County Economic Development Authority's (EDA) June 23 meeting featured a discussion about efforts to help young people find good-paying jobs without having to leave their hometown. The "Bridging The Gap" program includes EDA Chairman John Soper and members Mike Coleman, Paul Schreffler, Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott, former Lexington NAACP head William Saunders, and others. Soper said he hopes to set up a meeting in the near future with Woodford County High School officials to help students who "want to take a path of being able to graduate and walk into one of our plants ..." He said top officials from at least three area plants have agreed to participate and help plan the program. "... Then we'll meet with the school system and try to have this meeting so that we can help actually get the plants in and help design this program ... which I think will be very good for the high school," Soper said. Soper said after that, he'll try to set up a date for the second annual Industry Day, which this spring saw more than WCHS seniors tour area plants and learn about employment opportunities there. "We want to do that in the fall this year and try to get it sooner ... the sooner we get it, it might actually encourage some of these students to go down this path of programming, that they might see, 'Well, that's what I want to do.' Especially, when they go into the plants and they hear the plants will pay for their college education, if they work there and go back and take classes ..." Soper said. "It's an interesting path, versus the path a lot of folks take with (college) debt, so I think the more eyes we can open with that, the better off the students will be." McKinney Avenue update An official with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet provided an update on the state-paid widening of McKinney Avenue, which leads into Midway Station. "... All that means is that we're going to have an easement, which allows us to get on the property, do the work we need to do and once that's actually finished, the property rights will go back to you guys," said Robert Allen. "We generally are in favor of any improvements to our property that we don't have to pay for," Soper said, drawing laughs from several attendees. In response to a question about the timetable for the project, Allen said the work would begin as soon as the right-of-way certifications are issued. The EDA approved the temporary easement and a resolution allowing Soper to sign the necessary documents. LBAR grant A resolution allowing Soper retroactive permission to apply for a grant from the Lexington-Bluegrass Area Realtors Association was unanimously approved. Soper said for the last four or five years, LBAR has given the EDA $2,000 annually, and in this year's grant application, he wrote that the funds would be used for Industry Day and workforce education efforts.

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