A grant has been awarded to create an apprenticeship program for high school students in Hazard and Perry County. Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC), in partnership with Juniper Health, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, University of Kentucky, Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky, Hazard Independent School System, and Perry County School System, will create an apprenticeship pathway that begins in ninth grade and culminates in paid apprenticeships for juniors and seniors in high school. UK Healthcare is a Presenting Partner of SOAR. HCTC is a Founding Partner and Appalachian Regional Healthcare is a Grassroots Partner.
The three-year $627,000 pilot grant was awarded to the Kentucky Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development by the Department of Education and will fund this pilot program, the first of its kind in Kentucky. High school students will have opportunities to meet potential employers, take dual credit course work, receive soft skills training, and begin paid apprenticeships.
The goal of the project is to place 100 students, over three years, into paid apprenticeships. This project is a part of a greater effort to bring apprenticeships to communities around the state.
“Hazard Community and Technical College is honored to be involved in the KTECH pilot project. The program will expose high school students to technical occupations in healthcare and information technology and allow employers and students to create connections that could lead to full-time employment. It’s a positive for all parties involved,” said HCTC President Dr. Jennifer Lindon.
The UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health Director, Fran Feltner, noted, “Having an opportunity to participate in an apprenticeship provides a time of learning and developing skills for the jobs. Employers have an opportunity as well. Providing trainings and apprenticeships for high school students is a way of investing in the development of the next generation of skilled workers and the future economic development of our communities.”
Director for the project, Tim Koogler, began April 22. “I am excited to be the New K-Tech Program Director and for the opportunities the apprenticeship program has for our area high school students. Working alongside business partners, schools, and HCTC, we can create career pathways for students so they can be ready to begin work upon completion,” he said.
High School students will begin participation in this project in fall 2019.
Secretary Derrick K. Ramsey, Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, noted, “Kentucky’s workforce is thriving with opportunities for individuals seeking employment; however, employers are facing challenges with filling these opportunities with skilled workers. As a proven strategy for recruiting, training and retaining employees, the K Tech Model allows us to utilize apprenticeship to further equip students with credentials and STEM skills that are essential for promoting economic growth in the Commonwealth. Our long-term vision for the Commonwealth is to improve the financial and career success of all Kentuckians by creating career pipelines that ensures successful transition into today’s workforce.”
Dr. Deborah Williamson, Director, Kentucky Registered Apprenticeship, asks, “What was your best learning experience and how did you retain and master the contents? For example, think about being given oral and written instructions on how to ride a bike but having considerable delay in time before being allowed to ride one. Following Professor Benjamin Bloom and subsequent iterations of his work, acquiring knowledge in a given subject area is a pre-condition necessary to apply skills and abilities in a practical context. Too often in contemporary society, there is a disconnect between the subjects taught and the opportunity for application that enables an individual to gain mastery of a task. The disconnect occurs in both school and employment settings. Research has consistently demonstrated that we lose what we are taught unless there is fairly immediate and ongoing practice. The approaches used in the innovative KTECH model address what has been termed the ‘forgetting curve’ by giving student apprentices an immediate experiential learning experience in the real world of work while earning monetary compensation alongside diplomas and degrees. It embeds best practices from employers and academics, and results in a win-win for businesses, individuals and communities as a whole.”