Good News from the KCTCS Board Meeting

It’s always nice to report good news so I want to share a little with you. At the KCTCS Board of Regents meeting last week, we announced a record number of associate degrees were awarded during the 2014-15 academic year. With our enrollment down, this record of 9,632 degrees is especially significant.

The other good news deals with our audit. The board received positive results from an annual independent financial audit for fiscal year 2014-15. The opinion issued by Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PSC, was the highest opinion offered by public accounting firms. Even though we have budget constraints due to state funding cuts and decreased enrollment, this audit shows we are good stewards of our money.

Last, but certainly not least, the Board welcomed two new members representing faculty and staff. Congratulations to Tammy Thompson, PR coordinator at WKCTC, and Mark Wells, business administration professor at BSCTC. I look forward to your input and feedback at upcoming meetings.

I know all of this good news could not have happened without our dedicated faculty and staff. Thanks to everyone for all the hard work you do on behalf of KCTCS.

Posted in Presidential Information | Comments Off on Good News from the KCTCS Board Meeting

During the Season of Giving, I’m Thankful for Our Donors

We’ve just celebrated Thanksgiving, shopped till we dropped on Black Friday, scoured the web for Cyber Monday bargains, and finally, gave back on Giving Tuesday, which kicks off the season of giving.

Recently, KCTCS had the opportunity to thank those who have donated to us with the Celebration of Philanthropy Awards Dinner in Lexington. We honored 34 of the state’s leading individuals, businesses and foundations for their generous support to our colleges and the system as a whole. The event drew 600 folks from all over the state.

We owe these benefactors a great deal of gratitude. Their endowments and other gifts provide the opportunity for many of our students to attend college. We can never adequately thank them for all they’ve done for us and for all the lives they’ve helped change.

A one-night celebration hardly seems worthy of all they do for us. So, during this season of giving, I want to again publicly thank all of those who donated to our colleges. We appreciate your gifts more than we can ever say and are humbled by your support.

Posted in Presidential Information | Comments Off on During the Season of Giving, I’m Thankful for Our Donors

Thanksgiving Memories

If you’re like me Thanksgiving brings back memories of those family celebrations we had as children. I remember anxiously awaiting the big Thanksgiving meal and all those wonderful aromas wafting through the house while the meal was being prepared. My brothers and I bugging our mom by asking: “How much longer?”

Then we gathered around the table waiting for the OK to dig in, and boy, did we ever! We all had heaping plates of food followed by mouthwatering desserts. It was a great day spent with family that I’ll always remember fondly.

As we look forward to this Thanksgiving, I’d like to say how thankful I am for all the blessings in my life. In addition to my family, friends and church family, I’m so very thankful that I can come to work each day and spend time with such a great group of folks. Thank you for all you do for KCTCS and our students.

I’m also thankful for the thousands of students across the Commonwealth who’ve chosen to further their education at KCTCS. I’m hopeful their time with us will lead them to the places they’ve dreamed of.

In just a few days, we’ll be gathered around the table again to enjoy great food and give thanks. Even though it’s different than when we were kids, I hope you have a great day and make memories that you will recall for years to come.

Posted in Presidential Information | Comments Off on Thanksgiving Memories

Celebrating the Higher Education Act of 1965

If you’re a student who receives federal financial aid, you can thank the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). This is the 50-year anniversary of the law, which was created to strengthen the educational resources of America’s colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance to post-secondary students. The HEA was part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society domestic agenda.

The law has been amended over the years, but the basic premise of helping more students attend college hasn’t. The price of going to college has continued to increase, and if it weren’t for federal financial aid, 90 percent of our students might not be able to attend.

Our nation’s community colleges were founded on the concept of social justice and providing all Americans, particularly those economically and socially disadvantaged, an affordable and accessible education. Over the years the poor, working-class, and under-represented populations have enjoyed increased access to post-secondary education, largely through the doors of community and technical colleges.

Our charge by the Kentucky Legislature when it created KCTCS back in 1997 was to improve the quality of life and employability of Kentuckians. Since that time, our open access system of 16 colleges with more than 70 locations has provided the opportunity for people to get a good education while staying close to home. The HEA has played a large role in that by helping us positively affect the lives of thousands of Kentuckians. That’s something to celebrate!

Posted in Presidential Information | Comments Off on Celebrating the Higher Education Act of 1965

Fuel the Force

During the recession, higher ed funding was chopped from state budgets all around the country. But, while other states have begun restoring those funds, Kentucky has not. It’s so dire that Kentucky now ranks next to last among state post-secondary appropriations.

We know post-secondary education is the answer to many of Kentucky’s challenges. But preparing students for high paying jobs has become increasingly difficult for our colleges because our state funding has been dwindling for years. Since 2008, our budget has decreased by $38.5 million. At the same time, our fixed costs have risen at about the same amount.

In the last year, we’ve had to do a great deal of belt tightening, by reducing positions across the System and cutting expenses everywhere we could. We have done our part to be as lean as we can, and we’ve held the line on tuition for our students by freezing it this year.

Now, it’s time for us to get a little help from the state. Last week, Kentucky elected a new governor and other office holders. Our advocacy team, community business leaders and I will reach out to them and state legislators as we get closer to the General Assembly session in January to plead our case for restoration of half of what we’ve lost over the last several years.

We want them to recognize that community colleges are the primary engine that fuels the workforce across the state. But because of our consistent budget cuts, we’re running low on fuel and it is time to fill the tank. If our state is to move ahead and be globally competitive, we must have a strong workforce and to do that, the legislature must invest in Kentucky by investing in KCTCS.

To learn more about the Fuel the Force campaign and become a champion for KCTCS, visit our website.

Posted in Presidential Information | Comments Off on Fuel the Force

Be Aware. Be Prepared.

This week, all KCTCS colleges and the System Office will be focused on crisis communication because the college presidents and I want to make sure we are ready if an emergency occurs. Although campus shootings have been in the news recently, there are many other types of emergencies we could face, such as severe weather, flooding and fires.

That’s why we will be testing our SNAP emergency alert systems and our crisis communication website procedures that go into action during an emergency. We also have updated our websites with detailed information about how to respond during a crisis, and we’ll be sending out safety tips each day via social media.

This communication blitz is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. During emergencies, people panic, and if they aren’t prepared, may make a precarious situation worse. It’s essential that we all know how to react in various types of emergencies.

After every crisis that’s been in the news, one thing that’s been discussed is some people didn’t know what to do. I’m reminded of the brave mother and daughter in Oregon during the shootings at Umpqua Community College. The daughter wasn’t sure what to do, so she called her mother, who was a calm voice giving her direction on how to stay safe.

Everyone might not be as fortunate as that young woman who was able to call someone on the outside for help. So, make sure you know what to do. Personal safety on our campuses is priority number one. Please stay alert and report anything suspicious to your campus security or call 911.

Be aware. Be prepared.

 

Posted in Presidential Information | Comments Off on Be Aware. Be Prepared.

Heads Up: Let’s Talk about America’s College Promise

It’s no secret that today’s jobs require some type of college credential and that those without it will be paid less. Even though financial aid is widely available, many still see the cost of college as prohibitive. Horror stories about student loan debt continue to lead the news. All of these circumstances have created a need for America to find a better way to educate its citizens when it comes to higher ed.

In January, President Obama introduced the America’s College Promise proposal to make two years of community college free, allowing students to earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree and earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost. But this doesn’t mean students have no responsibility. They must earn good grades and stay on track to graduate or complete an occupational program.

This week, community colleges around the nation are participating in the President’s Heads Up campaign to draw attention to the need for free college for the first two years. As an open access institution, KCTCS would be able to offer even more Kentuckians the opportunity to earn a life-changing higher education credential under America’s College Promise. We are focused on student success, so this additional support removes any financial barriers that may be keeping some students from beginning college or completing their programs.

Although the idea of free college sounds radical, it’s really not. You may not know that high school has not always been free. Nearly a century ago, the movement to make high school education available to everyone helped lead to greater educational attainment for many Americans. Because high school was available to all, our workforce was one of the best educated in the world. Unfortunately, because of changes in the world, and in the world of work, we have seen others surpass us. It’s time to refocus.

KCTCS enrolls nearly half of all undergraduates in Kentucky. This proposal would surely increase those numbers, which means a better educated workforce for the state’s employers and higher wages for our students. This is important because Kentucky remains a state characterized by low educational attainment, workforce participation, earnings and high poverty rates.

Our state ranks near the bottom in the number of skilled workers needed to support manufacturing and the Commonwealth’s other targeted industry sectors. Many unemployed or underemployed Kentuckians need to return to college for the credentials needed to increase their wages. Making a free education available to these prospective nontraditional students in their communities would create more opportunities for them and local employers.

Take a minute to learn more about America’s College Promise and make your voice heard by visiting Heads Up America.

 

Posted in Presidential Information | Comments Off on Heads Up: Let’s Talk about America’s College Promise

Celebrating Todays Manufacturing Careers: It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Factory Job

This month, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) is celebrating Manufacturing Month, so it’s a good time to talk about what’s happening in manufacturing. It’s no secret we have a great partnership with the state’s manufacturers. This partnership is really very simple: Manufacturers need skilled workers, and we want to supply them. Together, this partnership is helping Kentuckians earn a good living, helping employers hire the right workers and helping the state’s economy grow.

An important point our students and prospective students need to understand is today’s manufacturing is not your grandfather’s, or even your father’s, manufacturing. Factories today are bright, clean and technologically advanced. They are full of people who’ve earned college credentials, because that’s what today’s jobs require.

In Kentucky, more than 213,000 employees are working in manufacturing, and many of these companies have jobs available for people with the right training and skills. A challenge businesses are facing, however, is that there aren’t enough qualified workers in Kentucky.

And here’s something else our students should know. There are going to be even more jobs available in manufacturing. A recent national report shows that American manufacturers could need as many as two million workers over the next 10 years. There are two main reasons for this. First, there’s been a rebirth of manufacturing so the industry is expanding. Second, is the retirement of the Baby Boomers.

Manufacturing jobs pay well for those who meet the qualifications. Just two years ago, a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers showed the average manufacturing worker earned $77,506 in total pay and benefits. That’s more than some grads from four-year universities will earn.

Many of our students enter college without having chosen a major. If you’re one of them, Manufacturing Month is a good time to look into whether a career in manufacturing is right for you. All of our colleges have excellent programs for those who want to earn an associate degree, certificates or diplomas. Some colleges are having open houses this month to celebrate Manufacturing Month.

If you think a manufacturing job sounds like something you’d like, talk to an advisor and see what these careers can offer you. Before you know it, you’ll be earning a good salary in a fast growing field.

 

Posted in Presidential Information | Comments Off on Celebrating Todays Manufacturing Careers: It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Factory Job

Umpqua Community College Tragedy Keeps Security Top of Mind

The last few weeks have been difficult for colleges in this country. The terrible tragedy at Umpqua Community College followed by another shooting incident at Northern Arizona University remind us of the reality of the world in which we live. We even had an incident at Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC) on Friday which, thankfully, proved to be false. I am so proud of the quick and professional response by both the college staff and Louisville Metropolitan Police. All of the crisis management training JCTC had put in place and practiced fell into place.

I know the recent incidents may spark questions or concerns about the safety of all of our campuses. Please know that our number one priority is the safety of our students, faculty and staff. Our campus security and crisis management teams regularly test and evaluate our procedures for all types of emergencies. We are committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for all who enter our campuses. That is why during the next month we will be launching a crisis management communications campaign designed to inform students, faculty and staff of what to do in case of an emergency.

On Thursday every single college within KCTCS participated in a National Moment of Silence to honor the victims of Umpqua Community College. The Dalai Lama once said, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength. No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” I ask everyone to continue to send Umpqua Community College a message of hope and strength as they work to overcome this terrible tragedy.

Posted in Presidential Information | Comments Off on Umpqua Community College Tragedy Keeps Security Top of Mind

Kentucky Adult Education Week Reminds Us of Our Mission

When KCTCS was created in 1997, our mission was clear: to improve the quality of life and employability of Kentuckians. As we celebrate Kentucky Adult Education Week, it’s a good time to reach out to the thousands of Kentuckians who still lack the credentials they need to get high paying jobs. We also can help those without a high school diploma take that first step by earning a GED through our partnership with Kentucky Adult Education.

Our Accelerating Opportunity program also offers a terrific way for students to earn a GED and college credit toward a diploma or certificate in some programs. We’ve seen this successful model, which provides two instructors in the classroom, a success coach and a career coach, work for many of our students over the last several years. They can quickly earn a credential that leads to a good career, and some have continued on to earn an associate degree.

For low-income parents who want to earn a college credential or GED, we have Ready to Work/Work and Learn programs. These programs offer many of things returning students need, such as counseling, mentoring and job readiness. Students in these programs also may be eligible for work study programs. Additionally, our talented staff who work in these programs will soon be receiving a statewide award for their collaboration with the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence for an economic empowerment services program. The program addresses non-academic issues like poverty, domestic violence and transportation that prevent students from completing a degree.

These non-academic issues along with the lack of self-confidence are what hold some people back from entering college. When students realize they can do this, they want to keep learning. We’ve all heard that knowledge is power, and there’s nothing more powerful than the feeling that you’ve accomplished something you never dreamed you could. What I most want people to know is that you can do it, you haven’t been out of school too long and you’re not too old.

Whether you’ve been out of high school for many years or just a short time, we have a place for you. Come in and talk to our advisors and see what your options are. You might be surprised by all the opportunity you have. You also might be surprised to see that many of our students are just like you.

This week, most of our colleges are having special events that include free food and prizes. They’re out there just waiting for the opportunity to talk to you and help you take that first step toward a better life. Be brave and take that step. A better future is waiting.

Posted in Presidential Communications, Presidential News | Comments Off on Kentucky Adult Education Week Reminds Us of Our Mission
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial