Getting work-ready in Kentucky

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

A new program in Kentucky provides tuition-free job training.

Training for high-wage jobs is now within reach for many Kentucky residents. The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship (WRKS) provides free tuition for programs in five high-demand fields: health care, advanced manufacturing, transportation/logistics, business services/information technology and construction/trades. As workforce demand changes, this list of fields may change, too.

Many colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System already offer programs in these fields – and many of the programs can be completed in four months or less.

The scholarships are available to anyone who has a high school diploma or GED, but hasn’t yet earned a college degree of any type; there are no income or age limits to qualify. The program also works for students in the Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky (AOKY) program, which allows students to earn a GED while also taking college courses.

“This is a great opportunity for people who want to get skills to go to work quickly, then perhaps come back to finish a degree,” Augusta Julian, president of Bluegrass Community and Technical College, said in a release.

The college offers many of the WRKS-approved programs, including an advanced manufacturing technician program, which gives students hands-on training in industrial maintenance, electronics, robotics, machining and welding. There’s also a new pharmacy technology program that offers flexibility to ease scheduling issues for students.

At Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), a new 16-week Healthcare Fast Path program is just one option for WRKS students. They can earn certifications as a nurses’ aide, pharmacy technician and phlebotomist, and take classes in medical coding and medical terminology.

“If people want to get a good job or improve their skills to get a better job, they should look into the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship,” said Alan Scheibmeir, interim president of BSCTC. “Not everyone wants or needs a bachelor’s degree, so this is a great opportunity for people who want to get in, get out and get to work quickly.”

How are tuition-free training programs working for your students? Sound off at LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.