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ACHS receives grant for new welding equipment

From left: Lucas Murphy, Ernie Harper, Alex Loy, Mr. Barney Taylor, Jase Matney Andrew Loy, and Jarett Janes at the ACHS welding shop.
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Adair County High School has been awarded a grant of more than $147,000 for new equipment at the school’s welding shop, which is part of ACHS’ on-campus technical school. 

The money comes from state reserve funds and will buy a CI BX Press Brake. The grant was submitted though the Cumberlands Workforce Development Board. 

A press release from the CWDB, led by Myra Wilson, states, in part: 

There has been a steady regional and state demand for skilled, technical positions which the Adair County Technical School has strived to meet since inception. This project is yet another step to further the capabilities of the program and the future of a skilled workforce. The equipment acquisition will allow students to have training and experience on a press brake not offered at any other educational center in the local area.

Adair County Judge-Executive Gale Cowan issued the following statement upon the announcement of the grant approval:

Back in late 2020, I was talking with Mr. Taylor about how hard it was to get funding for our technical school’s satellite campuses. We have the beautiful and well supplied Workforce and Technology Center in Russell Springs, and we are very fortunate to have the satellite campus for welding and nursing programs here in Adair County High School. But one of the struggles is getting equipment and the supplies they need to be able to teach the students. Welding rods and sheets of metal or aluminum are not cheap, and it takes these supplies to be able to give students the hands-on training they need. 

I ask Mr. Taylor, “If there was one thing you wish you had in the shop, what would it be?” He kind of laughed, like there is no way we could get it, but a Press Brake would be a tremendous help. He said if they had this piece of equipment, they would be able to go straight from cutting the material to this machine to bend and shape it as needed. 

I got on the computer and the phone and began looking for grants. Everywhere we called or looked, no, nothing for this type of equipment. After a couple months, I thought, “No isn’t always acceptable.” There must be something to keep these programs going. So, I called the Governor’s Office and spoke to Mr. Rocky Adkins, senior advisor to Gov. Andy Beshear. I explained the situation, and it wasn’t long he had put me in contact with Mr. Michael Bowman. Mr. Bowman is the administrator of the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act Statewide Reserve Funding. He told me they offered the grant with reserve funding and that our Area Development District could assist us in the grant writing. That’s all it took; I was immediately on the phone with Myra Wilson with LCADD. 

I’m pleased to announce today that late Friday afternoon, we received our Notice of Approval for $147,089 in Statewide Reserve Funds for the Adair County High School Welding Program for the purchase and installation of a Cl BX Press Brake. Congratulations to Mr. Barney Taylor and the Adair County Welding program. Special thanks go out to Waylon Wright, Myra Wilson, and all the staff of the Lake Cumberland Area Development District for the assistance on the grant writing and seeing this project through.

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Wes Feese is one of this company's owners and founders. He has previously worked as an editor, news reporter, sportswriter, photographer, and freelance contributor for newspapers across central Kentucky. He grew up in the Egypt community of Adair County and is a graduate of Adair County High School and Lindsey Wilson College.