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Kentucky lieutenant governor steps down from education cabinet role

FRANKFORT, Ky.Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman announced Thursday that she will step down as Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) to focus exclusively on her role as lieutenant governor, with the priority of further expanding job opportunities for Kentuckians as the commonwealth’s economy gains even more momentum.

“With all this opportunity, I’m telling you, in many ways, we need more than one Governor,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Fortunately, we have a lieutenant governor who can help in this day-to-day process of making sure we grasp every one of these economic development opportunities.”

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to be the first Lieutenant Governor in Kentucky’s history to simultaneously serve as the Secretary of Education and Workforce Development,” Coleman said. “With that said, there is so much work to be done in the education and workforce development arena to support an economy that is on fire, and I know that seeing these commitments through requires a laser-like focus. So, today I am saying farewell to my position as cabinet secretary because I know it is in good hands.”

Deputy Secretary Mary Pat Regan will assume the role of acting secretary of the EWDC.

Coleman said through some of the darkest days of the pandemic, the EWDC was able to move forward with its mission to build a cradle-to-career education and job training system in Kentucky.

Some of the cabinet’s accomplishments under Lt. Gov. Coleman’s leadership include:

  • Launching the state’s Free GED program, which waived the $125 GED testing fee, the greatest barrier for the 300,000 Kentuckians who do not have their high school diploma or GED equivalent;
  • Prioritizing broadband as a critical component of Kentucky’s infrastructure: EWDC led the way in helping the Beshear-Coleman administration close the digital divide from 15% of households with school-aged children to below 2%;
  • Establishing the Commonwealth Education Continuum to close the gaps along the cradle-to-career pipeline and investing $1 million from EWDC’s workforce funds to relaunch the Kentucky Academy for Equity in Teaching; and
  • Traveling across Kentucky hosting a series of 10 regional student mental health action summits. During the next legislative session, the involved students and Lt. Gov. Coleman will make policy recommendations to lawmakers.

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