CUMBERLAND, Ky. — The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) recently awarded Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKCTC) a $200,000 entrepreneurial grant. The college was one of three throughout the 16-college system to receive this funding.
According to Southeast’s president Dr. Vic Adams, the college will use these funds to begin a pilot program titled PACE – Providing Accelerated Career Employment. It will provide workforce education as well as comprehensive services to students who suffer from or who have been affected by addiction.
Throughout the region, colleges are increasingly challenged by substance abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared Kentucky’s overdose levels an “epidemic,” having more than tripled between 2010 and 2014. The Pace program, says Adams, is a first step and an important one designed to combat this problem.
This project aligns with SOAR’s Regional Blueprint for a 21st Century Appalachia, specifically the healthy communities, workforce, and small businesses objectives.
PACE will provide education in three areas: Computerized Manufacturing and Machining, Manufacturing Industrial Technology, and Human Services. It will also provide an advisor, support groups, clothing for job interviews, a food pantry, skill-building workshops, and apprenticeships.
Says Dr. Adams, “As the community’s college, we represent the area’s most vulnerable. That’s why the PACE program is a vital beginning. We want to provide these students with the opportunity not merely to survive, but to thrive.”