Why are so many Kentuckians content material with low-paying jobs? This is a query we at The Kentucky Community and Technical College System are asking ourselves after analysis confirmed that 75% of Kentucky’s undereducated adults have no real interest in pursuing education after highschool regardless that 16% of Kentuckians reside in poverty and our median annual earnings places us at forty first within the nation.
Our research amongst potential college students reveals that one of many major challenges is the shortage of curiosity on the a part of undereducated adults to pursue any kind of postsecondary diploma. Kentucky doesn’t have a robust college-going tradition. The state ranks close to the underside within the proportion of these age 25-plus with not less than a highschool diploma or equivalency. The similar is true for affiliate and bachelor’s levels.
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A Sept. 2021 report from the Kentucky Chamber states that at any time, there are as many as 100,000 open jobs in Kentucky, and that 65-85% of these jobs require education and coaching past a highschool diploma or GED.
Additionally, projected job progress over the subsequent 10 years within the well being care/social companies, transportation/logistics, manufacturing and enterprise and info expertise sectors will additional enhance demand for expert employees. Current job demand and projected job progress mixed with poor instructional attainment and labor pressure participation has resulted in a workforce disaster in Kentucky, harming the productiveness of business and deterring future investments, in keeping with the Chamber report. The scenario is much more embarrassing when taking a look at our neighboring states. Only West Virginia has worse numbers.
Of course, our getting old inhabitants and retirements play a task in our shrinking workforce. But, if these of working age shouldn’t have the talents and education at the moment’s jobs demand, Kentucky will fall even additional behind.
So, what’s holding folks again relating to furthering their education? Of the small proportion of adults who do have an curiosity in coaching and education, many have monetary considerations, childcare points, transportation points and lack of self-confidence.
To these people, I’d like to supply some recommendation: Call your local people faculty. College doesn’t must imply a bachelor’s diploma and it’s not only for 18-year-olds. Our 16 schools provide numerous short-term packages that get folks began in good careers. For those that wish to earn a level, we provide affiliate levels and have switch agreements with universities so our college students switch simply.
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And relating to value, KCTCS schools have the bottom tuition within the state. It’s lower than half of most universities. Additionally, about 80% of our college students obtain some kind of economic assist, and most of that’s scholarships and grants, not loans.
An excellent instance is the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship. It offers free tuition for a lot of of our packages, together with these which can be a semester or much less as much as an affiliate diploma.
There are some ways KCTCS might help Kentuckians have a greater life and enhance workforce participation through education. April is Community College Month and it’s time study how Kentuckians can transfer into good careers.
Higher education issues, and for these trying to enhance the lives of their households, group faculty is a superb place to start out.
Come on Kentucky! We can do that! Let’s get skilled, get to work and get our state shifting in the fitting route!
Dr. Paul Czarapata is President or Kentucky Community and Technical College System