KCTCS expanding apprenticeship opportunities

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System currently offers up to 85 apprenticeships around the state, but the hope is to increase that to 400-500 in the next five years.

Jay Box, president of KCTCS, spoke to KET recently about expanded apprenticeship opportunities, scholarships, and workforce training.

KCTCS currently offers an Associate in Applied Science–Apprenticeship Studies Program at four colleges: Jefferson, Gateway, Elizabethtown, and West Kentucky.

To help expand the number of apprenticeships, KCTCS was awarded a $420,000 grant in 2019 from the American Association of Community Colleges.

Apprentice-style programs are also offered at several KCTCS colleges through the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME). In addition, most KCTCS colleges offer apprentice partnerships with one or more local businesses.

KCTCS has 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses across the state. KCTCS offers college transfer programs (coursework for the first two years of a bachelor’s degree), college readiness programs, and career technical education. A shift has occurred in recent years so that now a majority of KCTCS students enroll in technical education.

Work Ready Kentucky

The Work Ready Scholarship encourages students to enter the top five in-demand job sectors: healthcare, advanced manufacturing, construction, transportation and logistics, and business and information technology. Students who major in programs in those fields can get a Work Ready Scholarship to cover all tuition, books, and fees beyond what is covered by federal financial aid.

At least 5,600 additional nurses will be needed in Kentucky by 2026, and Box hopes to get more partnerships and state funding to expand the KCTCS program, which currently turns out about 850 graduates in nursing a year.

Financial Aid

Box said the average KCTCS student debt is under $5,000, and 69 percent receive some type of financial aid. He also points to two in-house scholarships offered by KCTCS:

  • 15 to Finish Scholarship: If students finish 15 semester hours in one semester, they get $500 to start the next semester.
  • GED Plus scholarship: Students without a high school diploma can enroll in both Skills U adult education and a KCTCS technical program, earning a GED and a first-level certificate within four months.

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