The project was made possible following a $1.2 million grant to support workforce training and development in the area, while also enabling career exploration activities. The grant is due to a partnership between HCTC and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP).
The ICube unit and a more portable unit will provide an immersive experience - the classrooms will provide flexibility and access to comprehensive information that will train students to become effective, knowledgeable and productive employees. Career exploration in technical fields for K-12 students will also be provided.
Several HCTC employees have already received training in the basics of animation and programming for the simulators. The Challenger Center will offer students a 3D virtual reality immersion in the Solar System.
Eleven HCTC employees received training in January with John Handshoe: Dr. Paul Currie, Ella Strong, Neil Brashear, Brad Dyer, Tony Back, Tom Cravens, Tim Smith, Robert McCown, Tim Whittaker, and David Frazier.
“When folks see the equipment and what it can do, they are going to be excited about the possibilities in training,” noted John Handshoe. “We are seeing a lot of enthusiasm from college employees and students about what this can offer our community. There is still a lot more to do, but we hope to have a large portion of this project underway by early April,” Handshoe said.
HCTC President/CEO Dr. Allen Goben said, “The technological leap forward this provides for our region is invigorating. We have leading edge, world class technology right here in Eastern Kentucky to help us move forward in the 21st Century. Once fully installed and tested, HCTC will host a series of open house demonstrations so college and community members can have a first-hand look at this phenomenal technology. We are tremendously thankful for the strong collaboration and support of EKCEP Executive Director Jeff Whitehead and his staff, Acting Cabinet Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Joe Meyer, and Governor Beshear... as well as our Senator Brandon Smith, Representative Fitz Steele, and HCTC Board Chair Greg Wells for their vital role in helping us bring this equipment to HCTC.”