SOMERSET, Ky. — High school students in the Lake Cumberland region are getting an early START on preparing to enter the workforce, thanks to a new program from the Lake Cumberland Regional Training Consortium (LCRTC), a partnership of the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) and Somerset Community College (SCC).
START — Student Training, Assistance and Resources for Tomorrow — is the training consortium’s answer to the call for initiatives that empower local high school students with technical and professional training they need when they graduate. From soft skills to business etiquette, resume writing and more, the START program is equipping students with the training they need today to enter the workforce tomorrow.
LCRTC is an employer-led association that provides high-quality, inexpensive training to its members. It offers a variety of courses in leadership, team building, customer service, information technology and safety, helping employees of member businesses improve their skills and offering networking opportunities for those companies that choose to join.
The consortium has now provided START training to students at Somerset Christian, Southwestern and Somerset high schools at little to no cost to the institution — an opportunity that LCRTC President and TTAI Manager of General Affairs Michael Morgan says extends the organization’s mission in a way that further strengthens the workforce.
“The mission of the Lake Cumberland Regional Training Consortium has always been to provide businesses in our region with affordable training that will advance their employees,” Morgan said. “We see high school seniors as future employees, so it just made sense to create the START program. The training we offer provides the tools needed to transition into the workforce and become strong employees for all the businesses in the area. Our partnership with SPEDA and SCC is what makes this program possible.”
SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said START is the perfect complement to soft skills training opportunities SPEDA has offered since its inception to people of all walks of life.
“From the beginning, SPEDA put an emphasis on ensuring local employees have all the tools and support they need to be successful,” Girdler said. “That was a major reason we chose to bring the training consortium under SPEDA’s umbrella, so we could hone in on the needs of our businesses. These interpersonal skills, like communication, team-building, problem-solving, leadership and work ethic, are vital to successful collaboration in the workplace. So it only made sense that we offer this training to high school students as they are making decisions about their futures. We will take every opportunity to keep our workforce strong and successful, and START is a wonderful way to do so.”
Girdler commended LCRTC’s board of directors for its success in reviving the organization — participation in classes and membership is at an all-time high. In addition to Morgan as president, board members include Lorrie West, vice president and senior human resources partner at Cobb; Jessica Carlton, secretary/treasurer and SPEDA chief financial officer; Alesa Johnson, board liaison and SCC vice president of workforce solutions; Doug Hutton, chief of corporate relations for South Kentucky RECC; Heather Gambrel, SCC project manager for workforce solutions; and Carlotta Stringer, human resource administrator for DuraFlame East.
START is available to all high schools in the greater Lake Cumberland region. For more information or to sign up, contact Carlton at [email protected] or (606) 425-5409.