SKED to assist companies in earning national certifications to provide a competitive edge for federal contract opportunities

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12th September, 2017

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Joshua Ball

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SKED to assist companies in earning national certifications to provide a competitive edge for federal contract opportunities

SOMERSET, Ky. – The Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED) is searching for 12 businesses to help them earn key certifications that will give them a competitive edge for federal contract opportunities.

The Eastern Kentucky Supplier Education & Economic Development (SEED): Quality Certification Program is a partnership between SKED and the Advantage Kentucky Alliance (AKA) and was made possible through grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and American Electric Power (AEP).

Through the program, companies will receive assistance in paying for ISO 9001 and AS9100 quality certifications through a contract with AKA.  The certifications will increase market opportunities for new customers.  AKA is the US Department of Commerce’s NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Manufacturing Extension Partnership program for Kentucky.  Last year, AKA helped increase sales by Kentucky manufacturers by $10.8 million while cutting costs by $12.1 million.  This resulted in the creation of more than 1,335 jobs.

“The work of SKED, through the support of its partners such as the Appalachian Regional Commission, is important in providing valuable support to business and industry across Appalachia Kentucky,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR).  “By providing these quality certifications, SKED and its partners are positioning companies to see significant growth, while competing for lucrative federal contracts.”

Arnett said the work of SKED builds on SOAR’s Regional Blueprint.  It specifically addresses three of the blueprint’s seven goals, including the development of our regional workforce to be competitive in the digital economy and other emerging industries; to create more and expand existing small businesses within the region by taking full advantage of the digital economy; and increase the amount of industrial employment, which includes manufacturing, natural resources, processing, and distribution by expanding existing companies and attracting new ones.

Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers and Governor Matt Bevin announced a $200,000 ARC grant for the project at the 2017 SOAR Summit in August at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville.  SKED also received a $60,000 Kentucky Power Economic Growth Grant (K-PEGG) in May for the SEED program.  Companies selected for the program will pay 20% of AKA consulting fees, which are anticipated to be an average of $20,000.

Brett Traver, executive director of SKED, said that through the work of Congressman Rogers, Governor Bevin and partners, companies will now have the tools they need to put them on the path to more growth and development and to create more jobs.

“The manufacturers across our region have been doing quality work for decades, but they didn’t have the certifications that proved that and would allow them to compete for federal contracts nationally,” he said.

To be considered for the SEED program, an authorized representative of the company must complete a one-page application (http://www.southeastkentucky.com/seed-info.asp) and return it to Cheryl Meadows via email at cmeadows@centertech.com or by mail at Eastern Kentucky SEED, 2292, South Highway 27, Somerset, Ky. 42501.  Applications will be accepted until the 12 companies have been identified.

For more information, contact Traver at (606) 677-6100 or by email at btraver@centertech.com.

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