SCC Celebrating National Career and Technical Education Month
Somerset Community College (SCC) is highlighting its role in educating the local workforce throughout the month of February, which is designated Career and Technical Education Month. The first KY FAME class, which will graduate in May and is shown below, is an example of how education and career can work hand-in-hand.
The Cumberlands KY FAME Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program was started in 2015. Seven students, four from TTAI, two from UGN and one from American Woodmark, will graduate in May and be eligible to accept full-time positions in manufacturing. As part of the program, students work three days a week at their sponsoring company and attend college at SCC two days per week. They work a minimum of 24 hours a week and a typical 40-hour week during college breaks.
“This program is an excellent combination of college readiness and skilled training,” said program participant Homer Hazelbaker, of Somerset.
“These students are super talented,” said Chris Hall, KY FAME instructor. “They set the standard high for future program attendees and will be excellent technicians in today’s manufacturing environments.”
In 2016, nine different companies sponsored 15 KY FAME students, including TTAI, UGN, Duraflame, East Kentucky Power, Camtech, Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment, Jones Plastics, American Woodmark and Cobb Vantress. There are 13 students enrolled in the 2016 KY FAME cohort. Another group of students will begin in the fall of 2017. The program takes five semesters to complete. When finished, program participants earn an Associates of Applied Science degree in Industrial Maintenance Technology with an Advanced Manufacturing Technician Certificate.
As part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), which is the largest provider of workforce training in the Commonwealth, SCC offers the KY FAME program, as well as other programs that can help get students trained and into a job. Some programs can be completed in as little as four months or less and some lead to careers that pay up to $60,000.
“There are many people who are unemployed or stuck in low-wage jobs that think they don’t have the time or money to get training,” said Alesa Johnson, Chief of Workforce Solutions at SCC. “But they can improve their family’s lives and work toward achieving their dreams in a very short time, and there are many ways to pay for college.”
Meeting industry and community demand is what drives workforce opportunities at SCC, said Johnson. For example, the college has conducted training for 331 companies, with 87 of those newly served in 2016. In addition, the SCC Lineman Training Center has completed 45 classes, totaling 834 graduates, and new programs, including Fiber Optic training that will begin in March 2017, are being developed to meet industry demands, she said.
In total, 6,641 students are currently enrolled at SCC. In 2015-2016, official data shows 647 students earned associate degrees, 202 earned diplomas and 1434 earned certificates, resulting in better qualified, higher trained employees for our region.
Kentuckians who further their education at SCC also help further the state’s economy, which means there’s more funding available for infrastructure, education and other needs. A recently released study shows Kentucky is in the bottom five of least educated states. A better-educated work force positively affects existing employers and Kentucky’s ability to attract new businesses, all of which need skilled workers.