HCTC success story: Donnie Oliver

Donnie Oliver now has his master s degree in Social Work from UK and has worked for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Division of Protection and Permanency since December 2005; he attributes his success to three things associated with HCTC the Upward Bound program, HCTC classes, and the University Center of the Mountains.

The education I received from HCTC was great. I believe it certainly is on the same level as the education I obtained from state universities having now attended and graduated from two. The education I received from HCTC in the field of Human Services definitely laid a strong foundation for my profession as well as an appreciation for the importance and need of workers in the area of social work, Oliver said.

I could not say enough about the faculty at HCTC. I could not even begin to express the inspiration some of the instructors with HCTC have given me. Cindy Plummer has always been an encouragement to me; I appreciate Mike Strickland for his expertise and enthusiasm with which he lectures, and so many more faculty members have had a tremendous impact on me. Another great characteristic of the HCTC instructors is that I always felt comfortable approaching them if I needed assistance.

Upon completing his associate degrees, Oliver understood the need for continuing his education in order to be more competitive in the work force. I may have not continued my education in the field of social work had it not been conveniently available through the University Center of the Mountains. Being a non-traditional student and presented the challenge of juggling a family, full-time employment, and being a full-time student, the option to up-root and move to another community was not feasible. I am very appreciative of UCM and the degrees that are available in our community for our people to benefit from, he said.

Oliver looks back to his high school days and the wonderful support he received from HCTC s Upward Bound program. I could never forget the Upward Bound Program. I really believe that program was one of the underlying forces that impressed upon me the importance of education. Venetia Cooper, Steve Jones, Cindy Plummer and so many more have influenced me perhaps more than they will ever realize. Vice President of Student Services Doug Fraley s speech to the new Upward Bound students in the summer of 1992 is in my mind just as vivid today as it was then. He has been a strong encouragement to me and I appreciate him very much. The enrichment trips provided by Upward Bound made it possible for me to see sights that I would not have otherwise gotten to see as a high school student.

Since graduating from HCTC and EKU, Oliver has worked in the field of social work. He was employed as a Social Worker with Kentucky River Community Care from March 2005 to December 2005, then with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Division of Protection and Permanency from December 2005 to the present. Doing my part to keep children safe is the most rewarding thing about my current job. Having the opportunity to be a voice for the vulnerable is one that I don t take for granted. It is also very rewarding to help a family obtain the needed resources to become self-sufficient and provide a safe and stable environment for their children so the family can be reunited, Oliver said.

His hobbies include reading and studying the Bible. He enjoys writing articles on religious matters. He enjoys conducting Home Bible Studies and discussing the Bible and Christian living with those interested. He plans on continuing preaching for the Church of Christ at Browns Fork where he has preached for the last several years.

Oliver lives in Hazard. He grew up on Browns Fork which is just outside of Hazard. His parents are James and Mary Oliver of Browns Fork. They have been a very strong supporter of my education and have continually encouraged me to further my education, he said. He also praises the support of his wife, Tracey. She has worked hard both in the home and out of the home and made my pursuit of a degree easier to achieve. The couple has a son, Ethan, age two. Ethan continues to add purpose to both life and work. I am very thankful for him, Oliver said.

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