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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – A $2.5 million investment in education is popping up in Paintsville, with plans to provide career pathways to students in the area.
The STEAM Career Center, opening in the Paintsville Independent Schools office building on Main Street, is embarking on a new era of education for Johnson County’s youth.
“A student success hub, which will bring in some of the latest technology, latest job trainings, latest partnerships- in an individualized way- so our students will have access to what the job market is actually looking for,” said Paintsville Superintendent David Gibson.
The STEAM center will create programs with innovative subjects: Biomedical, engineering, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, robotics, and more. Including partnerships with entities like Awesome, Inc., opening entrepreneurial incubators to build more small businesses across the region.
“A learning center that’s going to really focus down into what the child wants, what the student wants,” said Gibson. “What do they want to do? How do they want to build a career?”
The programs, while rooted in the school’s tradition, seek to expand the minds of the students by letting them carve out a space of their own in the future in the workforce.
“Being able to take a child’s dreams and help them reach those dreams- as far as their career- that’s what education is about,” said Gibson.
The programs will reach out to potential employers and industry, using their input on how to train the next generation, and will allow potential employers to submit ideas for programs that would train students for their specific needs.
The building process is expected to take around three years, remodeling 30,000 square ft. of the current building on Main Street, but Gibson hopes to see small steps begin next year.
He said it is about more than just growing the school district.
“This is about our region. It’s about Appalachia. How can Paintsville Independent- Paintsville, the city of Paintsville- give something back to our region that maybe stops the bleeding a little bit,” he said. “Maybe stop the out-migration. Maybe saves us for a few more years. We want to be part of the solution.”
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