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EDA working with schools

THE WOODFORD COUNTY ECONOMIC Development Authority was honored by the Woodford County Board of Education on Monday night, Aug. 28, for its contributions to the school system. From left are EDA member William Downey, EDA Chair John Soper and school board Chair Ambrose Wilson IV. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

The Woodford County Economic Development Authority was honored by the Woodford County Board of Education on Monday, Aug. 28, for its contributions to the school system, but EDA Chair John Soper took the opportunity to highlight what local schools do to promote economic development. "I've been in these meetings with people when they're making $50 million decisions ... on where to locate their plants," said Soper. "And so much of (those decisions are) tied to education..." He pointed out that Woodford County schools have a track record of being a quality school district that prepares its graduates to go on to college or enter the workforce. "And there's a lot of good-paying jobs in Woodford County, a lot of good-paying jobs," said Soper. He said being able to get teachers and counselors out into the community this school year will give them an opportunity to see what's happening in today's industry. "It's really high-tech. They're very competitive on benefits," he explained. "They're great places for our students..." One of the challenges facing the community as its industry grows and over 700 jobs come here, according to Soper, will be having enough qualified workers to take those new jobs. He said conversations are already happening to ensure educators can better prepare students for the workforce. "I want to get people in (these new jobs) from Woodford County," said Soper. "I want to be able to have people (who) live here, work here, (and can) be members of our churches, go downtown to our festivals." To reduce turnover in the local workforce, he said, "We need to be homegrown." By this time next year, revenue from the payroll tax in the City of Midway will double, which will provide more revenue for public services to its residents, Soper said. Additional payroll taxes from new industry will also allow the City of Versailles to build a state-of-art police station without having to sacrifice other public services for its residents, he said.

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