Nearly $500,000 in coal severance funding will aid program development
OWENSBORO, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2012) — Gov. Steve Beshear today joined local leaders to announce a new veterinary technology degree program at the Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC).
“This veterinary program will be an outstanding addition to the curriculum offered at the Owensboro Community and Technical College,” Beshear said. “With a strong economic foundation in agriculture, western Kentucky needs qualified veterinary professionals, and I’m pleased the college is taking the lead in providing quality education for those seeking a degree in the veterinary field.”
The OCTC veterinary program development will be funded by a $475,500 multi-county coal severance grant to Daviess and Hancock counties.
The funding will allow the college to renovate existing facilities on the school’s downtown campus to reflect industry standards as established by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Renovations will include new classrooms, laboratories, surgical prep and surgery facilities, an X-ray room, indoor/outdoor animal holding facilities, office space and storage space. The funding also will help purchase equipment to outfit the newly renovated facilities.
OCTC will be the first community college in the state to offer an accredited veterinary technology program. There are only two other four-year colleges in Kentucky — Morehead State University and Murray State University — that offer veterinary technology programs.
“This veterinary technology program will be the first of its kind to be offered at a Kentucky community college and will allow students to gain employment and fill a critical need for one of our state’s most important industries,” said Rep. Tommy Thompson.
Veterinary technicians are considered the fastest-growing occupation in Kentucky requiring an associate’s degree, according to the Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2018. The field is expected to grow more than 38 percent through 2018, five times the average rate for all other occupations.
The growth in the need for veterinary technicians is complimented by the number of farms in the OCTC’s service area, which is located in U.S. Congressional Districts 1 and 2 and includes Daviess, Hancock, McLean and Ohio counties. These congressional districts were ranked 14th and 15th in the nation for total number of farms and farm operators 2007, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. In McLean and Ohio counties, nearly three-quarters of the total agricultural products sold are generated from livestock sales.
Multi-County Coal Severance Funds are a portion of coal severance taxes set aside to fund projects benefiting two or more coal-producing counties.