HCTC Ready to Work Program helped Byron Owens

Byron Owens on graduation dayByron Owens vividly remembers the day he was told he would no longer be driving tractor trailers for Rhino Trucking LLC out of Pikeville. This brief moment in time was a turning point in my life that unbeknownst to me then, was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me.

He says his life improved dramatically when he enrolled at Hazard Community and Technical College. Tackling such a feat would have never become a reality if it were not for the support that I received from the Ready to Work Coordinator then, Tracy Counts, and now Sandy Campbell, as well as the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. They offered me advice on everything from how to take college classes, travel to and from class and countless other details entailed in the education process, as well as the opportunity to work at the college to supplement my income, he said.

Owens was employed at HCTC s Student Resource Center under the direction of Dr. Sarah Gasper which he called a delightful experience.

He then pursued a career as an Advanced Practice Respiratory Therapist on the Whitesburg Campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, where he graduated.

With the help of the Ready to Work program and LKLP, my friends, and family, I ve started on a new chapter in my life, one where I never imagined myself, Owens said. He said he is grateful for the support he received both emotionally and financially.

He is a full-time Registered Respiratory Therapist at Whitesburg s Appalachian Regional Hospital after passing both the Certified Respiratory Therapist and Registered Respiratory Therapist with high ranking scores.
Sandy Campbell, Ready to Work Coordinator, noted, Byron has proven that education pays. I am thrilled for him and his family and it s very rewarding to see our students succeed.

Owens said, It is my hope to be able to help others in their pursuit of an education in some way that will make an impact in their lives, just as one has been made in mine by the love and support shown to me and my family.

Owens lives in Hindman with his wife, Kasey, and their two children.