President's Message, October 2021
Published on Oct 28, 2021
Lately, I’m hearing the same question everywhere I go. What does the BlueOvalSK Battery Park announcement mean for Elizabethtown Community and Technical College?
The record-breaking economic investment by Ford and SK Innovation has generated a lot of excitement in our community. Rightfully so. BlueOvalSK Battery Park is a $5.8 billion investment — the largest in Kentucky history — and it will bring 5,000 jobs to our community. Ancillary businesses will bring more jobs.
We’ve long known our community has what it takes to land a major employer at the Glendale Megasite, and seeing decades of investment take shape is inspiring. I can’t say enough about the strength of the local economic development team and the ongoing work of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation, City of Elizabethtown, Hardin County Government and many others.
Our college has a significant role as well. Any company selecting a site has a lot to consider, and now more than ever workforce tops the list of needs. They need to know that a community has access to skilled talent and the ability to attract and retain that talent.
At ECTC, we’re honored to serve as leaders in workforce and community development. Access to high-quality education and training programs is vital to the economic health of our region. Our programs create opportunity for individuals and families through pathways to transfer or the direct entry to the workforce. Of course, this also means that we provide a talent pipeline for our employers, laying the foundation for the growth of our region.
Further, our college has demonstrated we are ready and able to do things differently. For example, our innovative partnerships have created new opportunities like the Greater Knox Coding Academy, mobile training units, the Metallica Scholars Initiative and more. And with our University Center partners, more of our community’s residents are going to have access to high-demand bachelor’s degrees.
I am so proud of ECTC faculty, staff and partners. Their work and passion for student success not only has made ECTC an exceptional college, but also has helped position our community for economic investment.
Our college will continue to play an important role as BlueOvalSK Battery Park moves forward. Senate Bill 5, legislation passed with bipartisan support to lure an investment to the Glendale Megasite, includes $25 million to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to build an on-site training center in Glendale. The bill also includes millions in training grants.
Separately, our college has prioritized our greatest unmet facilities need — the renovation of the Occupational Technical Building (OTB), a 1960s facility housing many of our technical programs. This renovation will allow ECTC to expand and update our technical training related to many of the jobs needed to support Ford and SK Innovation’s investment. This renovation also will help us recruit talent into these high-demand pipelines.
No degree or training programs have been determined yet in the wake of Ford and SK Innovation’s announcement, but we’re looking forward to working with their team to understand the needs and implement programs to prepare people for these new career opportunities. This training will be a brand-new field of study and will represent an extremely exciting career path for students, from new high school graduates to adults seeking new, innovative careers.
This is an extraordinary time for our state, our community and our college. We should all take pride in our community’s selection for this historic, groundbreaking investment. I look forward to working with all of you as we prepare for the future and welcome BlueOvalSK Battery Park to our region.
Juston C. Pate, Ph. D.