For nearly 50 years, Hazard, Kentucky’s EKCEP (the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc.), has offered focused training, employment, and workforce development programs for Appalachian Kentucky’s changing economy. In 2015, EKCEP started TechHire Eastern Kentucky to identify and develop fast-track training and employment in partnership with tech and tech-related employers, higher education, and regional economic development agencies to create opportunities for eastern Kentucky workers in the digital economy. With support from ARC’s POWER Initiative, TechHire began a new intensive, advanced training program in cyber-security in partnership with cyber-security industry leaders in 2019. The program includes structured and industry-led cyber-security training, certification preparation and testing, cyber analyst boot-camps, and an immersive work-study experience in cyber-security operations analysis. All successful Network+ and Security+ certification-earners and work-study graduates have access to expert remote-work and/or place-based job placement services led by national cyber-security professionals. As of 2020, TechHire Eastern Kentucky helped create nearly 400 tech positions in the Region.
EKCEP also uses ARC support in recovery-to-work efforts, including the The Eastern Kentucky Addiction Recovery and Training (eKART) program which bridges the gap between recovery and productive participation in the workforce for individuals affected by substance use disorder by providing valuable career, training, supportive services, and employment opportunities. EKCEP manages eKART in partnership with Sullivan University and Addiction Recovery Care, to provide career training and supportive services, as well as second-chance job opportunities to cultivate a recovery ecosystem and bridge the gap between addiction recovery and productive participation in the workforce for individuals in recovery. The program also teaches local businesses how to create a supportive environment for employees in recovery, increasing the opportunities for work-based training, and partners with treatment providers to recruit recovering individuals appropriate for employment.