Versailles, Ky. (October 16, 2014) The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV) are collaborating to provide economic empowerment services and support to low-income parents. A press conference was held today in Frankfort announcing the partnership.

This project will strengthen the relationship between KCTCS colleges and the state s 15 domestic violence programs to ensure low-income, resource-challenged students get the services they need, said KCTCS President Michael B. McCall.

The partnership enables KCADV to expand its nationally recognized Economic Empowerment Project to serve KCTCS students in the Ready to Work/Work and Learn (RTW/Wamp;L) programs. The statewide RTW/Wamp;L programs are contracted and funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and are designed to assist and support low-income parents who attend KCTCS colleges. Coordinators prepare participants for the real world by providing everyday life skills in addition to counseling, advocacy and mentoring, and community resource referrals.

In addition to non-academic obstacles like finances and family obligations, domestic violence is another reason individuals leave college and don t complete their degree. In fact, about half of the students participating in this project have identified themselves as domestic violence survivors.

With assistance and training from KCADV, KCTCS colleges will offer financial education, credit reports and individual financial coaching to the approximately 2,000 students in the RTW/Wamp;L program. About 160 students will open Individual Development Accounts, or IDAs, special accounts in which students savings are matched 4 to 1. Students who save $1,000 will receive $4,000 in matching funds and have $5,000 to pay for college tuition and educational expenses. Students will also be able to apply for no-interest microloans and emergency assistance.

The project is being funded through grants from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the FINRA Foundation, along with a $300,000 matching grant from KCTCS and its colleges.