EKY center celebrates 50 years of service to Kentuckians with disabilities

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 9:48 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 11:30 PM EDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - On Thursday, an Eastern Kentucky center celebrated 50 years of helping Kentuckians with disabilities get employment and independence.

The Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center in Johnson County hosted a celebration to mark the special occasion.

“Congratulations to the Perkins Center on 50 years of helping more Kentuckians lead fulfilling and independent lives,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “I want to thank the dedicated team members who have helped more than 50,000 of our people over the years. Through their efforts, more of our fellow Kentuckians have been able to pursue their dreams.”

The center serves people with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injuries, intellectual disabilities, hearing deficiencies and physical disabilities.

“I am so proud of the work and dedication of the Perkins Center staff and the student success that has been achieved through hard work and perseverance over the past 50 years,” said Education and Labor Cabinet Secretary Jamie Link. “Every Kentuckian who wants a career deserves a pathway to success regardless of their disabilities. Our workforce is so much better when everyone gets an opportunity to contribute their skills and talents.”

The 140,000-square-foot building can hold 208 people on campus and an additional 50 commuters per month. The center also employs more than 120 people.

Officials said the center is on pace to exceed 400 referrals for services in 2023.

“The Perkins Center is one of only eight state-operated comprehensive rehabilitation centers in the nation. Over the last 50 years we have helped more than 50,000 Kentuckians with disabilities toward their personal vocational and independence goals. September 14, we will pay tribute to our student success, our history, and our supporters, and look froward to the next 50 years of service to the commonwealth,” said Alan Gullett, director of the center.