FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Skills U, an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, is partnering with Appalachian Regional Healthcare and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program to offer free GED classes and employment to Eastern Kentucky residents.
Through this unique partnership, ARH will offer employment opportunities to residents in the EKCEP Region who do not have a GED or high school equivalency. ARH is the first employer in the EKCEP region to pilot a program that connects Kentuckians in need of a GED with education and employment.
“Education is the key ingredient for Kentuckians seeking to be successful in today’s competitive workforce,” said Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey. “We encourage more employers like ARH to take advantage of adult education and career services that our cabinet offers to help equip Kentuckians with the skills and education needed to have long term careers and financial success.”
ARH hosted a career fair Oct. 4 to identify individuals in need of education and employment. Qualified applicants were offered full-time entry-level positions as personal care aides, environmental service aides, as well as kitchen and cafeteria helpers.
One of the biggest barriers for individuals obtaining a GED is the inability to pay for the exam. ARH will cover the $120 GED test fee for all program participants in addition to providing a dedicated class space for Kentucky Skills U instructors to teach GED curriculum to employees on-site.
“When you hear what’s going on here with an employer providing this kind of opportunity (and) Skills U coming to the table, that is a partnership that is magic,” said Jeff Whitehead, EKCEP executive director. “ARH is taking uncertainty out by providing the next step. The next step is a job, but better yet, ARH is providing a job while being able to work on getting the GED.”
Healthcare is one of fastest growing workforce industries in Kentucky. ARH is the largest provider of healthcare in the Eastern Kentucky region, and has been committed to developing healthcare career pathways to meet the growing demand for healthcare workers in Kentucky. As an employee of ARH, program participants will have access to career development and continuing education opportunities to allow them to further their careers in healthcare upon earning a GED.
“We are very excited about rolling out an opportunity for employment for entry level positions at ARH for applicants without a GED,” said Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Director Human Resources, Sonya Bergman. “We believe ARH can contribute to the vision of Secretary Ramsey and the Education & Workforce Development Cabinet in increasing the number of people in Kentucky, primarily in Eastern Kentucky, in receiving their GED.”
More than 16,000 Kentuckians are enrolled in adult education programs throughout the Commonwealth. Kentucky Skills U educators are equipped to help students pass the GED test by allowing students to learn at their own pace.
Services are available at no cost. Students only pay for the GED test upon completion of the course. Students who apply for GED Plus are eligible to earn a GED and college credential at the same time through the Kentucky Work Ready Scholarship.