MONTGOMERY —Gov. Kay Ivey has announced a $1 million grant to advance education in Clay County and to provide students with the skills needed for in-demand vocations.
The Clay County Board of Education will use funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission to renovate and convert the former Pete Phillips National Guard Armory in Ashland into a technical career development center.
The technical center will focus on training students for local, high-demand jobs in Clay County and surrounding areas.
“Clay County is about to take a major step toward improving the lives of so many students with this project,” Gov. Ivey said. “As a former educator, I take delight in this project that will help local students obtain skills for employment and help local industries fulfill their demand for skilled workers.”
Funds will be used to convert the 18,500-square-foot armory into a building that will include classrooms, laboratories, office space and more. The Clay County Board of Education is collaborating with Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City, Southern Union State Community College in Wadley and Jacksonville State University to develop a curriculum that will help meet the needs of area industries, including automobile manufacturers and suppliers.
The board expects the career center will produce 60 workforce-ready graduates annually.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.
“The Appalachian Regional Commission has been a true partner in helping local governments address problems and improve the lives of their residents,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA is pleased to join Gov. Ivey as a part of this process that will have many benefits for Clay County and its residents.”
ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments. The agency’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. Clay County is among the 37 Alabama counties that are part of the ARC region and eligible for funds.
ADECA manages a range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation development, energy conservation and water resource management.
Jim Plott or Mike Presley
ADECA Communications and External Affairs