eKAMI Advanced Robotic Instruction Project Receives $3M for Second Training Facility

eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute to expand robotics retraining to East Kentucky Correctional Complex.


The East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute is based in Paintsville, Ky.
eKAMI, the eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute, has received state funding to build a center to retrain incarcerated individuals for robotics and automation.

One of the biggest challenges facing U.S. manufacturers is the shortage of skilled talent to work with robots and automation. The East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute, or eKAMI, has been retraining workers to be robotics technicians. This week, Kentucky officials announced the funding of economic development projects, including $3 million for eKAMI's Advanced Robotic Instruction Project.

“These projects are creating good jobs, more opportunity and a healthier future for Eastern Kentuckians,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “These projects mean drinkable water, training and re-employment for those who have been laid off. For many of our people, the projects will mean more peace of mind and a fresh start when so many need it as we emerge from this pandemic, from devastating storms and from the downturn in the coal economy.”

“While this funding was designed to help our coal mining communities recover from the downturn of the coal industry, it will also serve as an essential resource as our rural Appalachian region recovers from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Rep Harold Rogers (R-Ky).

eKAMI adds credentials track for incarcerated 

eKAMI has already had success retraining former coal miners and others to operate CNC machines, and they designed and produced face shields last year to meet demand from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ready Robotics partnered with eKAMI, providing its Forge/OS to help operators learn how to program robots from multiple brands with a single platform in just three weeks.

The organization will use the state funding to build a center to offer a national manufacturing robotics credentials track for people incarcerated at the East Kentucky Correctional Complex in Morgan County. The goal is to not only help rehabilitate prisoners but also to revitalize the region with well-paying careers in industries of the future.

“Thanks to this AML funding, eKAMI looks forward to Kentucky leading the way in criminal justice reform with the new workforce development project at Kentucky’s largest correctional facility, the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in Morgan County,” stated Kathy Walker, founder and CEO of eKAMI. “eKAMI’s innovative, high-tech teaching model prepares offenders for high-skilled jobs in 21st century advanced manufacturing, paving the way for successful re-entry for those so deserving of a second chance.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announces funding for economic development projects, including the eKAMI Advanced Robotic Instruction Project.

About the Author

Eugene Demaitre's avatar
Eugene Demaitre
Eugene Demaitre was editorial director of Robotics 24/7. Prior to joining Peerless Media, he was a senior editor at Robotics Business Review and The Robot Report. Demaitre has also worked for BNA (now part of Bloomberg), Computerworld, and TechTarget. He has participated in numerous robotics-related webinars, podcasts, and events worldwide.
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The East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute is based in Paintsville, Ky.

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