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TechHire Eastern Kentucky

TechHire Eastern Kentucky is a continuing, long-term effort within Kentucky’s Appalachian region that identifies and develops fast-track training and employment opportunities for workers in the digital economy. Initially launched in 2015, TechHire Eastern Kentucky aims to create 185 tech or tech-related jobs in the region by 2019. The initiative received federal support from the Appalachian Regional Commission through a $2.75 million POWER grant in August 2016.

While the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP), Inc., is the regional and strategic lead for TechHire Eastern Kentucky, the initiative also involves a dedicated group of partners, including tech and tech-related employers, higher education, and regional economic development organizations.

In early April 2018, Teleworks USA – a TechHire Eastern Kentucky partner – began administering a new Tech Prep Workshop across its eight-Hub network that is designed to prepare jobseekers for tech-based digital employment opportunities. Teleworks USA partners with several global and national employers that have varying hiring needs and available positions.

As of May 31, 2018, there were 27 completed workshops across the eight-Hub network and 259 graduates. Of those 259 graduates, 101 have been employed with companies outside of the region as of the aforementioned date above. Those workshop graduates who have not yet found digital employment are encouraged to continue to work one-on-one with a Hub manager to discuss all current hiring opportunities. 

Additionally, TechHire Eastern Kentucky is overseeing a program designed to create a pathway into remote medical careers through partnership with EKCEP, Teleworks USA, Hazard Community and Technical College and Career Step. Interested individuals were encouraged to apply for the program’s self-paced Career Step curriculum that will prepare them to become nationally recognized AHIMA Certified Coding Specialists (CCS).

As of May 30, 2018, there have been 32 trainees enrolled into the program. These individuals were selected based on various aptitude and ability assessments, as well as relevant past experience.

Nearly 90 percent of Career Step graduates gain remote-work medical coding employment following graduation. Students will receive expert job placement assistance once certifications are achieved. Many jobs will include telework positions performed from a home office, though opportunities will also be available for onsite work in a hospital or clinical setting.

TechHire Eastern Kentucky’s TEKY1 efforts began in September 2016 on the campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Paintsville, Ky. Twenty-six of the initial 49 TEKY1 interns completed the rigorous 33-week program in summer 2017, learning app building and computer programming skills for Android and iOS. Thirteen of the initial 49 TEKY1 interns obtained full-time work with the Louisville-based tech firm Interapt, an original partner in the TechHire Eastern Kentucky initiative.

Additional employers – including Bit Source, SellerTron, American MetalWorks, and Troll and Toad – partnered with EKCEP and TechHire Eastern Kentucky to either employ remaining TEKY1 interns or create extended on-the-job internships for them with the possibility of employment. At present, 24 of the 26 former interns who completed the TEKY1 internship are fully employed in digital economy positions, and the remaining two former interns continue to pursue employment opportunities in this sector with workforce development assistance.

Inclusive of all TechHire Eastern Kentucky efforts and employer partnerships dating back to early 2015, there are currently 132 tech employees in Eastern Kentucky as of May 31, 2018.

TechHire Eastern Kentucky partners currently include:

  • Bit Source
  • CentralApp Technologies
  • SellerTron
  • Troll and Toad
  • American Metal Works
  • EKCEP
  • Teleworks USA
  • Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS)
  • Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR)

For more information about TechHire Eastern Kentucky, or to become an employer partner in the initiative and training, contact Michael Cornett, EKCEP director of agency expansion, at mcornett@ekcep.org or via telephone at 606-438-9938; or Kim Albright, operations manager at TechHire Eastern Kentucky, at 606-216-5997 or kalbright@ekcep.org.