Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) and Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) have teamed up to help community members gain employment and earn their GED. EKCEP has committed to working with PMC to provide adult education and to assist with job fairs for some entry level positions. This initiative will promote working while obtaining a GED and possible pathways afterwards.

The existing hospital policy requiring applicants to possess a high school diploma or GED to obtain specific entry level positions at PMC has been updated.

“PMC has amended our policy permitting the hiring of entry level positions without a high school diploma,” said Vice President of the Board of Directors and CEO Donovan Blackburn. “EKCEP is coordinating with Big Sandy Community Technical College (BSCTC) to teach the adult education program.”

PMC hosted a job fair on Tuesday, September 17, from 9am to 6pm at 172 S. Mayo Trail Pikeville, the former Leonard Lawson Cancer Center.

There are open entry level positions in environmental services, valet, food services and Starbucks baristas. Skills U from BSCTC was at the job fair to help people with adult education get on track towards their GED. The Kentucky Career Center assists with ways to help people navigate their job search, whether at PMC or elsewhere.

“This program is a wonderful opportunity,” said Recruitment Manager Ashley Johnson. “We are hoping to fill some positions here at the hospital, while also helping those in the community find gainful employment.”

EKCEP representatives were at the job fair to answer questions about the program. Once hired, an employee completing the adult education classes and earning their GED will also be given a wage increase at PMC. The employee can then explore additional training opportunities at the hospital.

Jeff Whitehead, executive director of EKCEP, recently announced a $40,000 grant to hire a pathway coordinator. The position’s responsibilities will be to coordinate efforts and programs between the schools, hospital, and state and federal programs to help move this and other programs and initiatives forward.

“We were very happy to partner with PMC on this job fair and help people connect with opportunities for new jobs and earn their GEDs,” said Whitehead. “This is also an opportunity for people to begin a career pathway that can lead them to continue their education and land higher-wage jobs, which is a benefit not only for themselves, but for the community as a whole.”

EKCEP administers Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs in 23 mountain counties and also manages the Kentucky Career Center JobSight network of workforce centers, which provide access to more than a dozen programs and services for jobseekers and employers under one roof.

“This program and grant funding was made possible by Congressman Hal Rogers, with the support of Governor Matt Bevin,” added Blackburn. “Governor Bevin and Congressman Rogers are both working together to support education, healthcare and job creation in the name of progress.”