A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ron Daley: J. D. Vance’s book ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ fosters negative stereotypes of Eastern Kentuckians

J. D. Vance’s 2016 book “Hillbilly Elegy” about his family’s life in Breathitt County does not reflect the people I have been neighbors with for the past 44 years. Even though this Yale Law graduate spent his life in Middletown, Ohio, with some visits to his family’s hometown in the mountains, Vance’s microscopic description of his dysfunctional family will continue to foster negative stereotypes...

Kentucky launches K-TECH initiative for Hazard Independent, Perry County students

Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet has launched Kentucky Advanced Technical College High (K-TECH), the state’s first college-high apprenticeship program, in partnership with Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC), University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health, Appalachian Regional Hospitals, Juniper Health, and Hazard Independent Schools. Science, technology,...

Ron Daley: Student loan debt and loan defaults adversely impact Kentucky and its rural areas

The growing national student loan crisis is having an even more devastating effect on families in rural eastern Kentucky. The average student debt in the United States is $32,731, while the median student loan debt amount is $17,000. The rising costs of tuition have increased total student loan debt up around 302% since 2004. Data shows that the increasing student loan debt is having a greater adverse...

Henderson Community College President Kristen Williams named new chancellor of KCTCS

Dr. Kristin Williams has been named chancellor of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System effective August 16. Dr. Kristin Williams She is no stranger to the system. Williams currently is president of Henderson Community College, has served as interim president of Hazard Community and Technical College and was chief academic officer at Hopkinsville Community College. Prior to joining KCTCS,...

Distance Learning: New York attorney taking mandolin class through HCTC online program

The beauty of online learning is that a student can be at any location, and so can the teacher. Jonathan Mintzer lives in New York City, and he has enjoyed being enrolled in classes with the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music (KSBTM), which is part of Hazard Community and Technical College. Mintzer knew he wanted to learn from faculty member Scott Napier after meeting him at a mandolin...

Commentary: USA Drone Port Project launched in Knott, Perry counties through power of collaboration

By Ron Daley Special to KyForward Building on the community’s assets, strong partners, seed money leading to the idea, and an ambitious vision and plan, the USA Drone Port project was launched for Knott and Perry counties last week in Hazard. The potential for the USA Drone Port: National Unmanned Robotic Research and Development Center goes beyond the jobs it will create as a drone research, testing,...

Rural Blog: ARC awards $26 million to job training projects in coal-impacted communities in five states

The Appalachian Region Commission has announced 28 awards of nearly $26 million in coal-impacted communities in five states with two of the largest grants going to Prestonsburg and Hazard. ARC said funds will “train more than 7,300 workers and students impacted by the changing coal economy in certificate, credentialing, and other workforce development programs. They will also create or retain...

Free conference in Eastern Kentucky to focus on ways to revitalize Appalachian economy

A free conference in Eastern Kentucky will focus on ways to grow the Appalachian economy through innovation, entrepreneurism and collaboration. “Big Ideas Fest for Appalachia: Visionary Thinking and Doing” will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 16 at Hazard Community and Technical College. Lunch will be provided. Jay Williams (Photo Provided) Hosted by the Kentucky Valley Educational...

Five KCTCS colleges to participate in this week’s SOAR Innovation Summit in Pikeville

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s (KCTCS) five colleges from the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) will take part in the SOAR 2016 Innovation Summit, which will showcase solutions for issues facing the region. The five colleges are Ashland Community and Technical College, Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Hazard Community and Technical College, Southeast Kentucky...

Kentucky Coal Academy showcasing new mine training facility during upcoming open house

The Kentucky Coal Academy (KCA) will host an open house 4-7 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at its Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKCTC) Harlan Campus at 164 Ball Park Road, to mark the opening of its new Mine Training Facility. “The Kentucky Coal Academy is proud to have a home in Harlan, and is excited to continue providing innovative trainings to new and active miners in Kentucky...

Hazard business leaders, citizens talk coal economics with Bevin during town meeting

Gov. Matt Bevin met with local business leaders and members of the Hazard community Friday to discuss recent job loss in the area. The two-hour event was broadcast live on Perry County’s WYMT Mountain News. Bevin thanked a packed house at Hazard Community and Technical College, and those watching, for taking time out of their day to participate in the community meeting. He heard from a number of...

$10M grant to six KCTCS colleges will be used to train students for high-demand tech jobs

Training for a new career in a high-demand information technology field like mobile app development or medical billing may now get faster and easier for Kentuckians.   The U.S. Department of Labor awarded six Kentucky community colleges $10 million to support job-driven training programs. Hazard Community and Technical College received $5.5 million to lead a consortium of six community and technical...

Making a better future for their boys, Owsley County couple work hard to get degrees

Nicholas Banks, left, graduated on May 10 with an associates degree from Hazard Community and Technical College and is three semesters away from getting his bachelor’s in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University. His wife, Ashley, will finish her HCTC degree in human services in the fall of 2015. (Photo from HCTC)   Husband-and-wife teams share many things – a home, a family...

Tiny doors make big splash on campus and in town of Hazard, help spark community pride

The “School of Magic” door appeared this past weekend on the campus of Hazard Community and Technical College. (Photo provided)   Staff report   Elton John once sang about a “tiny dancer,” but never about a tiny door. Maybe it’s because he was never in Hazard.   The Hazard Community and Technical College campus and the town of Hazard are being visited by...

New program coordinator at Kentucky School of Craft sees room to grow into artistic hub

Michael Flynn (Photo provided)   Hazard Community and Technical College has hired a new program coordinator for the Associate in Fine Arts Program at its Kentucky School of Craft in Hindman. Michael Flynn, from Pennsylvania, envisions the school becoming the region’s artistic hub. He has a bachelor’s in Visual Arts from Loyola in New Orleans and a master’s in Fine Arts from the...

Once homeless, addicted and unemployed, Donald King now has college degree in sight

Donald King is turning his life around after being homeless, struggling with addiction and dealing with unemployment. (Photo provided)   By Evelyn M. Wood Special to KyForward   Donald King has a goal of getting a college degree, and failure is not an option.   Despite losing jobs, struggling with addiction and being homeless, King is turning his life around and is optimistic about...

Breathitt County schools making 'good progress' under state's management

Breathitt County schools have made good progress under state management, Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said at a news conference today in Jackson.   He cited a number of examples of how the district had improved:   • The average daily attendance rate is up by more than 150 students. • The graduation rate is 86.5 percent, which exceeds the state average. • The college-...

‘Two big passions’ – nursing and comedy – keep Becky Alexander’s life interesting, full

By Evelyn M. Wood Special to KyForward   Becky Alexander is pursuing two of her passions in life – nursing and comedy. “When I was 4 or 5 years old, I started impersonating Julia Child.  By the time I was in middle school, I had a few teachers that pulled me out into the hallway so that I could impersonate other teachers,” she said.   Becky Alexander She loves to make people...

College success for Hazard single mother came by way of Ready to Work program help

Kelli Haddix, a senior at Hazard Community and Technical College, says she couldn’t have made it this far without the Ready to Work program at HCTC. (Photo by Evelyn M. Wood)   By Evelyn M. Wood Special to KyForward   We often hear of programs designed to help single mothers get the skills they need to work at jobs that pay enough to support their families, but we rarely ever meet...

Rodrick Rhodes looks to bring experience from playing, coaching careers to HCTC role

Former UK men’s basketball player Rodrick Rhodes has been named a KCTCS Fellow at Hazard Community and Technical College. He will work with students and employees on health and wellness initiatives. He will also assist with admissions and student mentoring programs.   Rodrick Rhodes. (Photo from Hazard Community & Technical College) Rhodes will also continue working as Cordia High School’s...