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Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) high school girls will learn about empowerment and positive choices during the 2017 Youth Services Centers Women of Worth: I Am Resilient Conference, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, in Hartford Hall at the Jefferson Community & Technical College (JCTC) Downtown Campus (649 S. 1st Street).

Approximately 300 students from a variety of JCPS high schools will enjoy sessions about goal setting, college readiness, healthy relationships and resilience. Sadiqa Reynolds, CEO and President of the Louisville Urban League, will serve as the keynote speaker.

The conference mission is to empower and motivate young women to make positive choices that will strengthen their life skills, help them overcome barriers and guide them in achieving academic success. The conference is sponsored by several JCPS Youth Services Centers, Norton Children’s Hospital and JCTC.

Maya Williamson was struggling, even homeless briefly, and wasn’t sure she would ever realize her dream of going to college. Then, she connected with a Louisville program that helped her get financial aid and stay on track with her studies. Now, Maya is pursuing a business degree at Jefferson Community & Technical College, planning to be the first in her family to graduate college.

Maya says the support she got from the KentuckianaWorks College Access Center (KCAC) made the difference.

“I don’t think I would have made it to college without all their help,” she said.

The KCAC provides a variety of free services that help people go to college, including help in applying for financial aid, and in finding and enrolling in the school that’s right for them. This past year, the center assisted more than 3,000 people — more than two-thirds of them were lower-income, and 83 percent were the first in their family to attend college.

Mayor Greg Fischer joined the KCAC adult program’s staff, clients and partners in marking its 40th year of operation by dedicating new and improved space in the ArtSpace Building at 323 W. Broadway, next to the Brown Theater.

“Helping people realize their dream of higher education is not only critical for each student and their family, it’s critical to building a stronger workforce and economy,” the Mayor said. “It’s also key to building safer neighborhoods because greater education leads to better jobs and careers that can break the cycle of poverty, hopelessness and violence.”

A critical time for people wanting to attend college begins October 1, when the application for federal student financial aid, known as FAFSA, can be filed.

“Getting financial aid is a key component to make your dreams of college a reality,” said Lashala Goodwin, executive director of KCAC.  “Our counselors can guide you through the process and maximize your chances of getting funding and other support.”

Goodwin said many schools require a completed FAFSA form to be eligible for any type of student aid, including grants, work-study, student loans and scholarships. And it’s especially important to act quickly in Kentucky, which is one of only a few states that awards financial aid on a first-come, first-serve basis. People who wait to file the FAFSA could lose out on state support for their education.

KCAC, which is funded by federal TRIO grants, operates two programs, including one that focuses on helping adults 19 and older like Williamson go to college.

A second program works directly with high school students, grades 9-12, helping them keep on track with their studies and develop a plan for college. Program counselors are based in five JCPS schools: Fairdale, Iroquois, Liberty, Valley and Western, and worked one-on-one with more than 800 students during the last school year.

Those seeking assistance through KCAC can contact the center at (502) 584-0475 or go to kentuckianaworks.org/KCAC. There is no charge for any of the services.

The program’s new space on Broadway also houses KentuckianaWorks’ Degrees Work program, which helps boost college attainment by contracting directly with employers such as Humana, Universal Woods and Louisville Metro Government to help their employees return to college.

Both the KCAC and Degrees Work are important contributors to the work being done by 55,000 Degrees, the city’s education movement.

Building upon their own successes, two of the city’s major players in Louisville’s IT education marketplace have cracked the code of how to strengthen their students’ work-ready skills.

Jefferson Community & Technical College and Code Louisville announced today a collaboration that provides Jefferson students credits for courses completed through the Code Louisville web development program.

“Web development is one of our high-growth, high-demand sectors, providing jobs with a future that you can support a family on,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “In an increasingly competitive job market, this partnership gives Louisville students more accessibility to securing a career in software development.”

The courses Jefferson offers align perfectly with Code Louisville’s classes and will provide a seamless transition to completing a credential.

Each 12-week Code Louisville course is worth three credit hours towards a Jefferson certificate or degree in Computer and Information Technology. This means a student can take one course at Jefferson plus three Code Louisville courses and earn a Programming Certificate or be well on their way to completing the Software Development Specialization sequence as part of an associate’s degree.

“As the community’s college, it is up to us to ensure our community’s employers have the workforce they need to grow their business, and, in turn, grow Louisville’s economy,” said Jefferson president Dr. Ty Handy. “Jefferson is expanding its Computer and Information Technology programs to keep up with the demand and we are eager to break ground on a new IT facility that will foster an exponential increase in developers.”

Jefferson’s plan for a new Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology Center was recently approved by the governor’s Work Ready Skills Committee. The group appropriated more than $15 million for construction and the college is looking to raise several million more. It could open as soon as Spring of 2019.

Code Louisville, a free training program of KentuckianaWorks, was launched in late 2013 to expand the pool of web developers in the region. Students learn web development using the latest technology and practices. Aided by expert mentors and online software, students complete coding projects and build portfolios of their work. More than 500 students have graduated Code Louisville with a quarter of those now in new jobs or advancing with their current employer.

“Virtually every business is now a ‘technology company’ and Code Louisville is designed to quickly provide people the skills that employers are demanding,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks. “Partnering with Jefferson will help individuals launch strong technology careers and help our region’s employers keep pace with their rapidly growing and changing technology needs.”

For more information about Code Louisville, including applying for courses, hiring graduates or mentoring students, visit codelouisville.org. For more information about the IT classes offered at Jefferson, visit www.jefferson.kctcs.edu/academics/programs_of_study/cit.

The Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee, formed to review and select proposals to elevate the Commonwealth’s workforce training capacity, awarded more than $65.5 million to 25 Kentucky projects on Jan. 31 in its first round of funding.

Launched in July 2016, the $100 million Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative is aimed at developing a highly trained, modernized workforce to meet the needs of employers, grow the state’s economy and promote sustainable incomes for Kentuckians.

“The response to the Work Ready Skills Initiative has been truly astounding,” said Gov. Bevin. “This important initiative is a key component in our pursuit to make Kentucky the nation’s premier engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence. This historic investment in training our workforce will truly be transformative for the Commonwealth.”

The 25 projects are spread across all 10 local workforce areas, with awards ranging from $30,780 – $15.2 million. The projects include construction and renovation of facilities and the purchase of new equipment aimed at providing workforce training and education in Kentucky’s top five growth sectors of advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, business services and information technology, healthcare, and construction trades.

“The Work Ready Skills Initiative has created a tremendous buzz and energy around the whole state among employers, educators and elected officials. Everywhere I go, people are excited about the opportunity to improve their communities through education and careers in technology in high-demand sectors. These great jobs are waiting to be filled by qualified Kentuckians and that’s what this initiative is all about,” said Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner, who chairs the committee.

“The committee was very impressed with the high quality of applications from across the state. All of the projects are driven by teams of local leaders from high schools, government, postsecondary schools and companies that are working together, some for the first time, to prepare their citizens for careers in high-demand careers. I really can’t imagine a better investment in the future of Kentucky than the Work Ready Skills Initiative,” said Heiner.

In August, the 10-member Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee received 117 pre-applications totaling nearly $565 million in requests. They spent the last six months reviewing proposals and interviewing applicants from across Kentucky to select the recipients. A second round will award about $34 million later this year.

“The committee members have volunteered hundreds of hours of their time and done a remarkable job to select these promising projects. I want to thank them for their commitment to Kentucky’s workforce and economic development and to our citizens,” Heiner said.

The committee selected the following applications and amounts for funding:

  • Allen County Career & Technical Center – $328,700
  • Barren County Board of Education – $6,840,000
  • Bluegrass Community & Technical College – Danville – $2,736,000
  • Bluegrass Community & Technical College – Leestown – $3,040,000
  • Boone County Schools – $6,840,000
  • Bowling Green High School – $77,520
  • Brighton Center, Inc. – $227,213
  • Caldwell County Schools – $1,520,000
  • Corbin Independent Schools – $382,149
  • Green County Board of Education – $1,520,000
  • Hazard Community & Technical College – $2,888,000
  • Jefferson Community & Technical College – $15,200,000
  • Jessamine County Schools – $760,000
  • KCEOC Community Action Partnership – $1,824,000
  • KY Tech – Warren County Area Technology Center – $557,726
  • Lee County Area Technology Center – $30,780
  • Martin County Area Technology Center – $2,736,000
  • MMRC Regional Industrial Development Authority / Maysville CTC – $1,140,000
  • Nelson County Area Technology Center – $64,526
  • Owensboro Community & Technical College – $2,858,244
  • Paducah Public Schools – $3,800,000
  • Shelby County Schools – $3,233,049
  • Somerset Community College – $3,800,000
  • Southcentral Community & Technical College – $179,000
  • West Kentucky Community & Technical College – $3,040,000

For more information about the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative, please visit www.KentuckyWorkReady.com.

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