A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

KCTCS celebrates trade worker apprecticeships during Career and Technical Education Month

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is the largest provider of workforce education in the Commonwealth preparing 82 percent of the state’s skilled trades workers. February is Career and Technical Education Month and KCTCS is highlighting its role in providing important programs that align with business needs across the state.

For example, LG&E offers an apprenticeship program through Jefferson Community and Technical College. The college brings classes on-site to LG&E and offers flexible schedules based on how students’ work hours are affected by unpredictable weather.

“When the weather conditions are at their worst, we’re called into action,” said Greg Lindsey, LG&E manager of Electric Technical Training and Public Safety. “The college works with us to reschedule as needed so we don’t get behind.”

The program provides students an opportunity to earn an associate degree, which puts them on track to further their education and/or move into management opportunities.

“I had pretty much given up on getting a degree,” Scott Kress, a recent program graduate, said. “This program turned that around 180 degrees. I just graduated with an associate degree and the instructor pushed me to go on and get a bachelor’s degree.

“My wife has two degrees, and I didn’t want my kids to look at me and say: You didn’t get a degree, so why should I?”

It’s no secret that those who earn a postsecondary credential are in demand, earn more and experience less unemployment. The 16 colleges of KCTCS offer hundreds of career education programs, some of which can be completed in four months or less and lead to careers that pay up to $60,000.

KCTCS also works with the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) to offer apprenticeship-type programs. These learn and earn programs allow students to earn a paycheck while getting hands-on experience and college credit. With KY FAME chapters all over the state, most KCTCS colleges offer partnerships with one or more local business.

For those who want to earn a short-term certificate and go to work quickly, KCTCS offers the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship that is funded by the state. It covers up to 32 hours tuition free for programs in healthcare, manufacturing, construction, logistics, business and information technology.

“There are many people who are unemployed or stuck in low-wage jobs that think they don’t have the time or money to get a college credential,” said KCTCS President Jay K. Box. “But they can work toward having a better life in a very short time, and there are many ways to pay for college.”

To see how KCTCS is bettering the lives of Kentuckians, visit betterlivesky.com.

From Kentucky Community and Technical College System

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