KTECH Puts The Love In Workforce Training

By Shelly Haskins
Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “KTECH” is a workforce training program for foster youth and other at-risk kids. It was modeled after a program called “mechatronics,” a mix of training for mechanical, electronic and computer-based skills which are in high demand in the advanced manufacturing fields.

Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

Lee Marshall has never worried about her ability to provide the “love” part in “Kids to Love.”

A former foster child herself, her Kids to Love Foundation has loved and cared for more than 200,000 foster children all across Alabama since 2004.

What worried Marshall was what might happen to these foster children when they were no longer children.

She’d seen shocking statistics of the high percentage of foster children that end up in the juvenile justice system and prison.

“For years, it’s weighed on me,” Marshall said.

So Kids to Love began finding money to offer college scholarships to foster youth. They’ve given out more than 500 so far.

“But what we found is, not every one of our kids, like any kid, is cut out for college,” she said. “There was a gap for skills training to reach these under-resourced and underserved kids.”

She wanted to set up some kind of workforce training program for foster youth and other at-risk kids, but couldn’t find a similar program anywhere.

Developer Louis Breland and his wife, Patty, donated a building on Castle Drive in Madison. Huntsville aerospace legend and philanthropist Dorothy Davidson wrote a check for the best equipment money could buy.

After year of research, talking to plant managers about the skills needed in advanced manufacturing, Marshall hired instructors and veteran manufacturing manager Dorothy Havens to run the program, and got started.

The KTECH program, just about two years old now, is equipped with state-of-the-art training equipment, degreed engineers as instructors, and is one of only two schools in Alabama certified by the Siemens Corp., something that would impress any plant manager.

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