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Business leaders set to highlight additional KCTCS funding needs during Capitol rally

Business leaders from across the state who are concerned about how the loss of funding to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) affects their businesses are making their voices heard Thursday, Feb. 18 at a rally at 12:30 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.

These leaders are members of local Business Champions Councils representing all areas of the state and each of the 16 KCTCS colleges. Gov. Matt Bevin will be the special guest at the rally and will sign a proclamation declaring Feb. 18 KCTCS day in Kentucky.


The chairs of the 16 Business Champions Councils elected three of their members to chair the KCTCS Council. They are Carter Hendricks, Mayor of Hopkinsville, Dennis Johnson, president and CEO of Hardin Memorial Hospital and Rusty Justice, of Jigsaw Enterprises and Bitsource.

The three leaders will speak at the rally to represent more than 300 champions and 90 companies supporting KCTCS. Roddy Grimes, an alumni of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College’s HVAC program, also will speak about the impact community college had on his life and career.

KCTCS President Jay K. Box will welcome guests and facilitate the event.

The rally is part of the KCTCS Fuel the Force initiative, which is a statewide advocacy campaign led by business leaders to inform elected officials about the dire need of increased public postsecondary education state appropriations. Kentucky’s employers have more jobs than trained people to fill them and depend on their local KCTCS colleges to help meet their needs.

“The strength of the community college is that they can target directly on what your needs are as a business,” Council chair Rusty Justice of Jigsaw Enterprises and Bitsource, LLC, said. “It doesn’t have to be a one size fits all.”

Kentucky is one of only a handful of states that has not begun to reinvest in higher education since the end of the recession. The Governor’s proposed budget reductions will put Kentucky further behind and significantly impact the colleges’ ability to produce the highly skilled workforce necessary to compete for new business and industry and the expansion of existing companies. If the governor’s proposed cuts of $17 million are instituted on top of the $39 million KCTCS has been cut since 2008, this will create a total cut of $56 million.

Business Champions are asking the General Assembly to reinvest in KCTCS so it can continue to meet its mission of improving the quality of life and employability of the citizens of the Commonwealth.

“As an alumni of Hopkinsville Community College, I know firsthand the tremendous impact it (HCC) has on helping to set the foundation for success in any individual’s life as a student on this campus,” said Council chair Carter Hendrickson, Mayor of Hopkinsville. “More importantly, I see what it means to have a strong college producing a strong workforce, which is vital to the future of our community.”

After the rally, Business Champions will visit both houses of the General Assembly. In addition to the rally, Business Champions have invited legislators to attend a reception at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.

Catering will be provided by KCTCS culinary arts students from Ashland, Elizabethtown, Maysville and Somerset, and music will be by Dean Osborne and the students from Hazard Community and Technical College’s School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music.

“Kentucky’s community and technical colleges are the lifeblood of the Commonwealth,” said Council chair Dennis Johnson, CEO, Hardin Memorial Hospital. “They provide the higher worker skill sets needed today by business and industry and are critical to local, regional and statewide economic development efforts. It’s time for the General Assembly to reinvest in postsecondary education and help position our citizens and our communities for economic success.”

From KCTCS Communications

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