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Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center gets funding for workforce education, training programs


The Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center based out of Morehead is one of seven centers across the country receiving grant money for its workforce programs.

The project is receiving more than $200,000 dollars from the U.S. Department of Labor over the next three years. The money will help the center improve upon its career exploration, education, training and workforce development programs for students aged 14 to 21 years old.

David Gross is the director of the center. He says the program can help bolster rural and underserved areas across northeast Kentucky with a larger medical workforce.

“Rural areas of the nation, and particularly Kentucky, have had health professional shortages for decades,” Gross said. “And the COVID 19 pandemic just exacerbated that.”

The programs’ expansions also include the use of virtual reality in classrooms. Whitney Cornette is the lead Health Careers Coordinator for the center. She says the technology could give students a more hands-on feel for situations students might not fully grasp otherwise.

“We see a lot of students that may not be able to shadow in their rural area, they have to drive to hospitals or health care facilities,” Cornette said. “So the facilities that we've teamed up with kind of understand the rural area.”

The project starts Sunday and will continue through September 30, 2026. It’s expected to place 45 to 50 students in work placements this year.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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