• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

EDA discusses worker prep, child care

The Friday, Sept. 22, meeting of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority (EDA) focused on finding young workers for area businesses and a day care center for the city of Midway. For months, Soper has been involved in talks with Woodford school officials, industry leaders and others in an effort to ensure as many new jobs as possible are filled by Woodford County residents. Soper said he'd also met recently with a state Education Cabinet official about an apprenticeship program that would give young people a chance to work part-time at local industries. Local school officials have been very receptive to the idea, he said. Soper has long preached that the type of industrial jobs available in Woodford County are not the stereotypical "widget-assembly" posts of the past. Some involve phone-like devices and joysticks, he said - devices with which most young people today are quite familiar. "The next step is to meet with our industry representatives and try to get them to agree on a curriculum (at Woodford County High School) that we would offer, and it would most likely be something in the range of advanced manufacturing ..." Soper said. The big hurdle continues to be overcoming liability concerns about minors, Soper said. The EDA also unanimously approved a resolution allowing Soper to attend an Oct. 26 workforce readiness conference in Louisville. The resolution also allows Soper to take part in other conferences with the approval of Vice Chair Mike Coleman and Paul Schreffler, an economic development specialist at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Midway Day Care Mayor Grayson Vandegrift recently appointed a task force to study the feasibility of a private day care center in Midway. He named his wife, Katie, as chair of the unpaid group, and as a member of the EDA, she discussed the matter at Friday's meeting. Soper said if the task force determines that Midway Station would be an appropriate site for a day care center, the EDA could send a letter to developer Dennis Anderson "asking him to pursue this." After the meeting, Vandegrift said the task force plans to meet soon with the executive director of the Child Care Council of Kentucky. "I spoke with him on the phone, and he was really pumped. He thought Midway would be a great place and (one of the reasons) I feel it would work in Midway is our (nearness) to the interstate. People who work in Frankfort, that work in Lexington, Georgetown, Versailles - they can drop their kid off while they're driving by, basically," she said. Vandegrift said after the meeting with the council official, she'll reach out to local churches to see if they have the space and interest to host a child care center. Midway Christian Church used to have such a program, she said, as did Midway University (then college) 15 or 20 years ago, she said. The Vandegrifts have a toddler son, and Katie said because she works in Georgetown, when she needs child care, she drops him off at a day care center in Georgetown. She said the task force will explore whether there are existing facilities in Midway suitable for a day care center. EDA officers Members unanimously reappointed Soper as chair and Coleman as vice chair. William Downey was elected treasurer, and Schreffler, secretary. LBAR grant The EDA was also presented with a $2,000 economic development grant from the Lexington Bluegrass Association of Realtors.

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