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Kentucky Safety-Training Institute Operated by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Expanded

The expansion of the Kentucky Safety-Training Institute operated by Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College is expected to push the innovative local initiative to another level of service as it prepares to be begin offering training for local, statewide as well as national businesses and industry.

During a ceremony held recently at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park at Middlesboro, the Kentucky Safety-Training Institute unveiled its new logo and in so doing broadly expanded its mission. For a number of years, Southeast employees have been crisscrossing the country delivering innovative as well as state-of-the-art safety training to National Park Service employees.

From Independence Hall in Philadelphia to the Grand Canyon to Mammoth Cave to Yellowstone, instructors from the Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College-run institute have met the challenge of delivering training for a myriad of park employees, keeping them up to date and well-versed on safety issues which oftentimes can be the difference in protecting the lives of those who are entrusted with keeping the shimmering jewels of the park system operating efficiently.

Dr. Don Webb, Jr., is director of the Kentucky Safety-Training Institute, and he was joined recently by SKCTC administration and staff as well as national park officials to officially launch the institute. He announced the institute would begin offering stylized safety training for private business and industry while continuing its long relationship with the National Park Service.

We are now taking the training we have been providing for the park service and will offer it locally, across the commonwealth and in some instances nationally, he said. We also wish to make some of this same training available to municipalities, to county governments, to local school districts and to others who need it.

The ceremony was attended by many local officials including law enforcement personnel as well as local and state government officials and representatives of the National Park Service. To date, according to Webb, employees of his institute have been to 17 national parks instructing over 600 employees representing 127 parks.

The SKCTC institute began in 1996 by providing selected safety training to personnel at Mammoth Cave National Park. Over the years, workers for the institute have also hosted training sessions on the colleges Middlesboro campus, accommodating national park workers from around the nation who typically spend a week in the area staying in local motels, eating at restaurants and buying goods from local businesses said Vic Adams, the dean of community and economic development for the college.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Superintendent Mark H. Woods lauded the safety-training institute calling it a blessing.

In order for the national parks across America to do the job required of them, one key element is employee training. He presented an employee handbook from 1955 and quoted the then chief of the National Park System: The day you become an employee of the National Park Service, the reputation of the service is placed in your hands. Thousands of our guests never come in contact with more than a single employee and many of them will judge the service by that one contact. Favorable public opinion is vital to us.

Woods noted that parks nationwide have changed dramatically over the years and have become much more complex than they were in the 1950s. Because of that, his employees at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park require better and more intensive training.

The Kentucky Safety-Training Institute is all about offering training that has not traditionally been offered. We had a critical need and they are filling that void. Our employees as well as the public will benefit greatly from having a workforce that is trained well and prepared in order to offer outstanding service that the National Park Service has long been known for, he said.

For further information about the Kentucky Safety-Training Institute, contact Dr. Webb on the SKCTC Middlesboro campus by phoning 606/589-0832.

KSTL Group Picture

Taking part in the ceremony were from left: Dr. W. Bruce Ayers, SKCTC president, Dr. Don Webb, head of the institute, Vic Adams, dean of community and economic development, Mark H. Woods, superintendent, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, H. Thomas McGrath, superintendent, historic preservation training chief for the National Park Service and Susan Croushorn, director of the SKCTC Middlesboro campus.