Kentucky community colleges to seek more support from legislature | SKYCTC

Kentucky community colleges to seek more support from legislature

by AARON MUDD Jan 10, 2016

Following budget cuts that left some universities feeling drained, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System is recruiting businesses to help lobby the legislature for more support.

I am hopeful that higher education is one of the top priorities that they will support because the future of Kentucky lies in our ability to provide a trained workforce, said Phil Neal, president of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Since 2008, KCTCS has lost $38.5 million in appropriations from Kentucky s legislature. As a result, it s partnering with businesses and other organizations across the state for its Fuel the Force campaign.

Everybody s not going to be able to go to Western (Kentucky University) to get a four-year degree, said Abraham Williams, executive director of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green, which is one of the campaign partners.

For Williams, funding technical education is something Kentucky will have to do eventually or face a labor shortage.

I think the biggest thing is to try to find additional funding, he said.

Alex Downing, president of Franklin Bank and Trust, said its partnership with SKYCTC goes back many years. We have a passion for our region, for economic development and for the education of our youth, he said.

It s also a cause that everyone can benefit from, he said.

Postsecondary education provides opportunities to people in this area to hopefully encourage them to stay in this region, to give back to this area, he said.

Those involved in the campaign will tap their relationships with legislators to collect just over $420 million for KCTCS operating budget over the next two years, Neal said. The money would be used to bring on the programs and services to continue to train a highly skilled workforce for the companies that are the basis for our economy, he said.

For Scott Williams, president of Owensboro Community and Technical College, the limited funding has had consequences.

It really starts to the hamper the ability of the student to get the support they need, he said.

Restoring funding could help colleges assist students with job placement, developing soft skills and student success, he said. I think specifically it s workforce development, he said.