Home » Celebrating community colleges’ impact on the Commonwealth: Over one million Kentuckians (and counting)

Celebrating community colleges’ impact on the Commonwealth: Over one million Kentuckians (and counting)

VERSAILLES, Ky. — April is National Community College Month, and the 16 colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) are celebrating their commitment to bettering the lives of Kentuckians and supporting the state’s economy by joining in the #KCTCSPROUD campaign. The primary goals of #KCTCSPROUD are to improve awareness of the professional, personal and economic advantages of attending a community college.

“KCTCS is a trusted resource delivering quality, student-centered education touching every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Larry Ferguson, KCTCS Acting President. “All made possible with the support of Kentucky lawmakers, for nearly a quarter of a century, KCTCS has helped spearhead the state’s ongoing effort to better the lives and livelihoods of students, employees, businesses and communities alike.” He added, “Our dedicated staff and team of professionals look forward to continuing to build on our success in the decades to come.”

Established by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1997, KCTCS has been the state’s preeminent driving force in providing affordable, accessible and quality higher education for the numerous families and businesses who call Kentucky home. Twenty-five years later, KCTCS is proud to be recognized as first in the nation for credentials awarded per capita by two-year public colleges and as the state’s largest provider of postsecondary education. KCTCS continues to offer the lowest tuition of any higher education institution in the Bluegrass State and serves as the largest provider of online learning (with 65 percent of students taking at least one online class).

As KCTCS reflects on the last 25 years, it remains focused on the next 25 years. In that spirit, here are five things Kentuckians need to know about the future of KCTCS:

1. As Kentucky’s business’ needs change and grow, KCTCS will adapt to meet the needs of the Commonwealth, helping more Kentuckians achieve their career goals and more businesses obtain the skilled workforce they need.

  • New businesses are coming to Kentucky each month and many of them, like the Blue Oval SK EV battery plant in Hardin County, create new opportunities for the state and those looking to have good careers with good wages.  Adapting programs and curriculum to meet these needs is priority number one for the 16 colleges of KCTCS.

2. KCTCS is committed to expanding workforce training and strengthening industry partnerships to enhance programs and secure skilled talent pipelines to grow Kentucky’s economy.

  • Fiscal year 2022 saw KCTCS’s highest performing year in revenue generation and customized training since the creation of TRAINS funding, originally introduced as KY WINS in 2000. The number of TRAINS projects led by KCTCS Workforce Solutions ballooned from 117 to 240, new Workforce Solutions clients grew by 147 percent, and enrollment jumped by 41 percent (up to 19,111).
  • Manufacturing was the top sector receiving services and funding under TRAINS, with $4,141,603 invested in 118 companies, and a total of 142 companies served through customized solutions. Other leading sectors included healthcare, logistics, and business services. This year, KCTCS committed more than $7 million to support economic development projects in manufacturing and tourism. These commitments impacted the announcement of 16 projects which are projected to create nearly 12,000 jobs for Kentuckians over the next five years.

3. As the shortage of healthcare workers continues to affect Kentucky and the U.S., KCTCS will seek more opportunities to help grow this important sector of workers.

  • KCTCS awards two-thirds of all nursing and allied health credentials in Kentucky and nearly 90 percent of associate degrees in nursing. Working with hospital partners and others, KCTCS will continue to be the top provider of associate degree nurses and grow the number of credentials awarded in all healthcare programs.

4. KCTCS will continue preparing Kentuckians for the workforce, whether a student is in a transfer or technical program. To do this, growing the number of students in both areas is imperative. As a result, KCTCS will focus on increasing transfer and technical program students.

  • In 2020-21, more than 14,500 KCTCS students transferred to a university. By leveraging proven practices to increase academic success through completing credential pathways and (credit and non-credit) industry training, KCTCS is focused on more students transferring to four-year institutions and new partnerships, increasing employment entry, re-entry, or upskilling. Additionally, we are focused on expanding the number and diversity of learners.

5. KCTCS will focus on bringing even more dual credit opportunities to high schools throughout the state. Providing dual credit opportunities for high school students is one key to encouraging them to continue their higher education journey.

  • KCTCS is the number one provider of dual credit classes in Kentucky. Last academic year, more than 25,000 high school students were enrolled in KCTCS colleges.

For more information about KCTCS this Community College Month, please visit https://kctcs.edu/. To learn how KCTCS Workforce Solutions is growing a stronger Kentucky workforce, visit https://workforce.kctcs.edu/.

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