May 24, 2017

Versailles, Ky.Today, Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Sec. Hal Heiner announced details about the new Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship (WRKS), which provides free tuition for programs in five business sectors that are considered high wage, high demand.

The 16 colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) offer numerous programs in these fields, which are health care, advanced manufacturing, transportation/logistics, business services/information technology and construction/trades. Many of these programs can be completed in four months or less and lead to careers that pay higher salaries than some requiring a bachelor’s degree.

“We appreciate Gov. Bevin and Sec. Heiner’s commitment to elevating educational attainment in Kentucky and believe this scholarship is a great step toward helping thousands of Kentuckians improve their lives,” said KCTCS President Jay K. Box. “It provides a terrific opportunity for people who want to get in, get out and get to work quickly.”

It’s no secret that Kentucky employers have many jobs that go unfilled because they cannot find qualified workers. KCTCS has partnerships with businesses all across the state, and the colleges are focused on meeting the ever-changing needs of local businesses. As part of that, they’ve been adapting and expanding courses in anticipation of the increased enrollment for programs covered by scholarship.

For example, Jefferson Community and Technical College is expanding its advanced manufacturing program to benefit GE Appliances. Gateway Community and Technical College is adapting its supply chain management program to meet the needs of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport expansion, which includes Amazon and DHL.

Additionally, several colleges are adding evening classes to accommodate working students that are interested in earning certificates or diplomas to advance in their careers. Some also are increasing the number of students that can enroll in certain programs, such as Ashland Community and Technical College’s practical nursing program and Madisonville Community College’s surgical first assistant program. Both of these program expansions will benefit not only the new students, but also will help local hospitals fill open positions.

Anyone who has not yet earned a college degree of any type is eligible for free tuition toward earning a certificate or diploma in one of the five sectors. There are no income or age limits to qualify. The only educational requirement to apply is a high school diploma or GED.

The WRKS is administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority. Prospective students must first apply for federal financial aid before they are eligible to apply for the WRKS. The Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) form is available at www.fafsa.gov and the WRKS application can be found at www.kheaa.com

For more information on KCTCS programs that qualify for the WRKS, visit WorkReadyKentucky.com.