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Market Review: Classroom-workplace collaboration

Regional educators, private enterprise pair up to better train Louisville workforce

By Kathie Stamps

Students in the Health Science Academy work with area hospitals and local providers to prepare them for careers in the medical field. The academy is part of Jefferson County Public School’s Academies of Louisville workforce development program.

A prepared workforce is always important for companies large and small, and secondary education and institutions of higher learning in the region are joining forces now like never before with businesses for mutual benefits.

More than 17,600 students in 14 high schools (up from 11 last year) are participating in the Academies of Louisville., the 13 partner businesses in its first year is now 100, with room for more.

“Whether they have five employees or several thousand, we encourage business owners and leaders to reach out to JCPS to discuss shaping a program that meets business needs and helps prepare our students for college and career,” said Deanna Southerling, marketing generalist with JCPS.

High schoolers as apprentices

In January, the public education system launched the JCPS Apprenticeship Program to offer registered apprenticeships in 10 industry sectors, including culinary arts, diesel mechanics, early childcare, graphic design and IT.

One Fairdale High School junior is acting as a student teacher at a local elementary school, an experience normally reserved for graduating college students. A Pleasure Ridge Park High School student is interning in the transitional care unit at Norton Audubon Hospital as part of the Health Science Academy at Pleasure Ridge Park High School.

“Academies of Louisville students are an important part of our Norton Healthcare family,” said Russell Cox, president and CEO of Norton Healthcare. “It’s true, we’ve made an investment in them but they’ve made an investment in us as well.”

IBM partners with UofL

Through a partnership with the international business services giant, the University of Louisville is establishing an IBM Skills Academy on UofL’s Belknap campus this fall to focus on data science digital learning. Last fall saw a new master’s degree, the master of science in business analytics (MSBA), in keeping with technology needs in the workplace, specifically the importance of analyzing data in every business sector.

In fall 2018, the UofL Athletics Department partnered with the College of Business for a new Project on Ethical Leadership Excellence. Designed to teach virtues-based leadership skills, Vince Tyra, UofL director of athletics and vice president, personally donated $100,000 to start the project. The UofL Athletics Department and Adidas each pledged to donate $100,000 a year for 10 years for a total of $2.1 million to go to staff and program development.

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And, beginning in the fall ’19 semester, UofL will offer an online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate for graduate students, taught by industry experts as well as UofL faculty. The five-week program is one of three dozen online UofL offerings. Another is an online MBA program offered through the College of Business, a five-semester curriculum designed for working professionals. The online Franchise Management Certificate, for current and future franchise owners, began in February, the first in a series of certificate programs for specialized industries.

UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences has a new biostatistics certificate program, on campus and online, for working professionals to expand their skillsets and advance their careers. Beginning this fall, a master of science in health data analytics (MSHDA) will be offered, with a focus on data analytics in the health care arena so graduates will be prepared to help provider organizations improve quality, lower the cost of care and enhance patient experience.

Going high tech

KentuckianaWorks, the Workforce Development Board for Jefferson and seven surrounding counties, placed 1,943 people in jobs last year, creating an annual payroll of $61.4 million. The Code Louisville program offers free training in software coding and has more than 1,000 graduates since it started in fall 2013.

This summer, KentuckianaWorks starts Tech Louisville, funded by an AdvancingCities grant from JPMorgan Chase, to prepare 300 adults over the next three years for entry-level jobs in IT.

“Tech Louisville will use a certification from Google, the Google IT Support Professional Certificate,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks. “It merges hardware and security certification. There have been hundreds of job openings in our area in the past six months, with a $35,000 to $50,000 entry point into the broader tech world.”

Louisville was one of five metros announced in April in the AdvancingCities Challenge by New York-based JPMorgan Chase. Chicago, Miami, San Diego and Syracuse are the others.

In 2000, Spalding University created the first master of fine arts in writing program in Kentucky. This fall, Spalding is introducing the first writing school in the state, the School of Creative and Professional Writing, which will offer a master’s degree in writing. In the professional writing track, students will concentrate on workplace writing within their chosen field.

“For instance, a student who works for a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization might create documents for a clean water campaign or develop parts of a grant narrative,” said program chair Kathleen Driskell. “A student interested in sports information might take a case study approach to a local professional team to practice the types of writing required to run the organization as well as communicate with its public.”

Writing is a valued skill for employees in any field. The master of writing in arts program at Spalding also helps students “gain expertise in many sought-after soft skills such as critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration,” Driskell said.

Louisville also has ample opportunities for working professionals or parents to further their education, thanks to a region-wide shift to adding online degree programs and certificates.

Kentucky State University

400 E. Main St.

Frankfort, KY 40601

(502) 597-6000


From its modest beginnings in 1886 as a small normal school for the training of black teachers for the black schools of Kentucky, Kentucky State University has grown and evolved into a land-grant and liberal arts institution that prepares a diverse student population to compete in a multifaceted, ever-changing global society.

Over the past 30 years, more than 43 new structures or major building expansions have enhanced Kentucky State University’s 914-acre campus, which includes a 311-acre agricultural research farm and a 306-acre environmental education center.

Kentucky State University is a public institution with an enrollment of approximately 2,000 students and 151 full-time faculty members.