Graduation of first group of welders for SilverLiner from local education program a sign of healthy commerce

SilverLiner was one of the first companies to commit to locating in the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park, targeting the park’s Speculative Building for its initial facility.

Thursday, the company’s partnership with Big Sandy Community and Technical College and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program resulted in the graduation of 12 individuals from a program that will result in the company benefiting and those individuals being at the forefront of Eastern Kentucky’s new manufacturing vanguard.

By the time the company begins operation, officials have said, they hope to have dozens employed, not only gainfully, but in an industry which will last long into the future. And they’re just one of several new industries eying our area.

And that’s why we’re so excited to see the involvement of each of these organizations. SilverLiner knows that it will have a highly-trained workforce ready to go on day one, and a dozen people, so far, know they have secured a better future for their families through their hard work and will lay the foundation for SilverLiner.

Chris Tomlinson, founder of SilverLiner, pointed out during Thursday’s ceremony how vital the educational program is for his company.

“It’s absolutely essential. We could not do this without EKCEP and Big Sandy,” he said. “When we started this, as you know, in Eastern Kentucky, we’ve had welders for heavy metal, we’ve had welders for pipelines. We’ve never done intricate welding in aluminum. It’s a whole lot different. Without them to teach this class, SilverLiner absolutely would not be here.”

The involvement of BSCTC, EKCEP and other educational organizations will be vital for the future. Companies will have to train the workers they hope to find here and our workforce will need to learn to work in the various positions which will be offered by these new employers.

Part of what has made the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park the resource toward which much of the community is the fact that the infrastructure businesses need to succeed was installed

This graduation is not just a landmark for Pikeville, or for Big Sandy Community and Technical College, but for the entire region, including Johnson County. Those who are to be employed by SilverLiner, EnerBlü and the other companies coming to the KEIP will not all come from Pikeville or even Pike County.

Other communities will play a role and will benefit from the ongoing industrial and commercial growth in Pikeville and Pike County and programs such as this are laying a groundwork for the success they’ll each see as a result of this, and other, endeavors.

For a time there, Eastern Kentucky’s future looked fairly murky. However it’d be easy to make the argument that because of all the hard work and dedication going into the foundation and infrastructure work, it looks a bit brighter today than it has in the past

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