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HCTC among Community Colleges to Win $10 Million Grant for Tech Training

male student with a laptopStudents can train for high-demand jobs in computer and medical technology

Training for a new career in a high-demand information technology field like mobile app development or medical billing may get faster and easier thanks to a new federal grant announced today.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded six Kentucky community colleges $10 million to support job-driven training programs. Hazard Community and Technical College received $5.5 million to lead a consortium of six schools focused on training in the information technology industry.

Several of the schools are located in the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) area, where economic development, job training and education are a key focus. Hundreds of SOAR-area workers may benefit from the new training for high-demand technology jobs.

Our community colleges are a critical nexus between workers and emerging businesses, said Governor Steve Beshear. These colleges have developed a fast-track pipeline to get businesses the trained workers they need in the shortest time possible, which saves students money and helps local businesses advance their work. I m proud that this grant will continue to support those efforts and help train more Kentuckians for rewarding jobs.

HCTC President Dr. Steve Greiner said students in the Computer Information Technology (CIT) and Medical Information Technology (MIT) programs will benefit from the training that will become available, beginning with the summer semesters in 2015.

HCTC s Dean of Distance Learning, Dr. Ella Strong, said a total of five degrees and 13 certificates will be designed and then offered in those two programs.

The $10 million in investments in Kentucky announced today will help prepare local workers with the skills needed for in-demand careers and advance the role of community colleges as engines of economic growth, said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. Over the last four years, the U.S. Department of Labor has invested more than $25 million in Kentucky part of a long-term commitment to ensure that workers have access to training for the specific skills employers need to stay competitive in the global economy.

The Department of Labor announced more than $450 million in grants to community colleges around the country in the final round of the four-year, nearly $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative. These investments will help expand the capacity of the American community college system to provide innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. During the four years of this competition more than 250 grants have been awarded funding programs at 1,060 colleges.

About Kentucky s Winning Program

All students have access to a Learn on Demand online curriculum through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), which allows students to learn and progress at their own pace. That means students advance based on competency, not on class hours fulfilled or semesters completed.

The federal grant will support a new program within Learn on Demand called Enhancing Programs for IT Certification (EPIC).

Six colleges, led by Hazard Community and Technical College, formed the EPIC consortium to expand the scope of Learn on Demand. EPIC will create four major information technology (IT) pathways in computer and medical information curriculum that will lead to five degrees and 13 certificates, all of which will be developed in concert with regional and national employers.

EPIC will provide more than 720 trade-impacted workers and other adult learners with a flexible, supportive structure to earn credentials in less time and at a lower cost than conventional semester-length, classroom-based programs of study thereby strengthening their transitions to high-demand IT career fields.

Students who participate in EPIC can train for jobs such as network administration, medical coding, programming, electronic health records management, and IT security. Our region has experienced significant economic loss over the last several years. We have many unemployed and underemployed workers who are seeking sustainable higher paying jobs that will not only to enable them to provide for their families but allow them to remain in Kentucky. This grant will enable KCTCS to provide these hard-working people with this opportunity, noted Dr. Strong, who will also serve as Senior Project Advisor for Hazard Community and Technical College.

Besides Hazard, the other KCTCS colleges participating are Big Sandy, Jefferson, Somerset, Southeast, and West Kentucky.