Years ago, vocational schools taught trades to students in mechanics, carpentry, electrical, and welding in order to prepare graduates to earn a paycheck. Through hands-on learning, students gained experience and were ready to go post-graduation. Today, the idea is the same, but the technology is a whole different ball game. Welcome to the 21st century.
The Paducah Innovation Hub is more than just a trade or technical school, it’s the future. The 100,000 square foot building will not only teach students, it will house the Paducah school board office, host boardroom meetings, provide abilities classrooms, offer large workshop areas, and other special spaces.
Paducah Tilghman classes started this past week and the Paducah Area Technology Center (ATC) classes will start September 28. Students from Paducah, McCracken County, St. Mary’s, Community Christian Academy, Graves County, Livingston County and home-schooled students can participate in the ATC programs.
ATC classes include auto body and technician, welding, carpentry, and health science. Students will be able to achieve various certifications from the ATC classes giving them a head start in the job market. Certifications in auto, welding, carpentry, and healthcare will be offered as well.
The two story Hub will also contain classes specific to Paducah Tilghman High School students. Classes like Navy ROTC, IT, engineering, physics, robotics, and art. There are two new programs that include a Federal Aviation Administration approved drone pilot’s license class and a virtual reality coding class.
Makerspace will be located at the ‘Hub.’ Former Paducah Middle School educator Timothy Franklin is the Director of the Makerspace program. Students from Kindergarten through 12th grade can participate. There are art programs, summer programs, community projects and planned adult programs.
The Paducah Innovation Hub is taking career preparation to a new level. The $24.3 million project was made possible through a $4.5 million state grant, $3.5 million in available PISD funds and $16.33 million in 20 year bonds sold by the Paducah Independent School District.