Nationally and in Kentucky, there’s a lot of attention on workforce development because so many jobs are unfilled due to the lack of skilled workers. We are the solution to the state’s workforce shortage because no one is doing more to educate today’s and tomorrow’s workers than KCTCS. We’re the number one provider of workforce education in Kentucky, educating 82 percent of the state’s skilled workers.
February is Career and Technical Education Month (CTE), so I thought this was a good opportunity to highlight some of our students and programs.
Many students come to us not really sure what they want to do with their lives. They just know they need to earn a college credential so they can better their lives. We see this with people of all ages and backgrounds.
- Veterans are one of the most important groups on our campuses. Some of them say they felt a little lost after leaving the military and didn’t know what they wanted to do. Many have found our career education programs are a good fit because the hands-on classes are similar to what they’ve experienced in the military.
- People who’ve experienced a life-changing event, such as a job loss or divorce, are looking for a quick way to earn a credential and get a good job. We offer hundreds of short-term certificates that can be earned in four months or less. Some of these programs can lead to jobs that pay as much as $60,000.
- First-generation college students choose KCTCS because of our smaller class sizes and campuses right in their backyards. They also choose KCTCS because they can quickly get the education they need to find a job in their communities.
We have partnerships with businesses all over the state to make sure our students are getting relevant courses for jobs with local companies. One student who’s found his niche with a local company is Austin Rodriquez.
I’ve heard numerous stories from students about why they chose one of our 16 colleges, but few have moved me as much as Austin’s. His home life was turbulent to say the least. His father was in a gang. There was violence in the home and the family suffered from poverty. Austin said his home life was so distracting that he couldn’t focus on school. He was told by educators that he was slow and would end up a statistic – either in jail or dead.
After moving from Wisconsin to the Bowling Green area, Austin learned about the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program and Southcentral Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (SKY FAME) chapter. From that moment, the direction of his life changed, and he has never looked back.
The AMT program allows Austin to earn a paycheck at a local manufacturing facility, Bowling Green Metalforming, while getting hands-on experience and a college degree from Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.
Austin is just one of our incredible students. You can view his story and several others in their own words at betterlivesky.com. Just click on the college name and a student video will be available. Not all of the featured students are in our CTE programs, but all have come to KCTCS to seek a better life for themselves and their families.