Short-term programs are in demand for today’s careers

by Dr. Paul Czarapata - May 23, 2022

As employers search for skilled workers, many Kentuckians are on the sidelines because they don’t have the training needed for good careers. What they might not know is short-term training is available at little to no cost at their local community college.

Our recent research with 3,000 Kentuckians shows only a small percentage are aware of all the programs available to them, and even though the number of people saying they’re interested in earning a certificate has increased significantly, it’s still a small percentage.

Some short-term certificates are offered for credit and can be used toward a degree. Many others are not for credit but still help people get jobs quickly. Most importantly, many can be completed in a matter of weeks or a few months. Take CDL. This in-demand field is offered by 15 of our colleges. Classes begin monthly and can be completed in about four weeks. 

One of the best ways to find out about some of the short-term certificates we offer is to start with our Workforce Solutions team. Each of our 16 colleges has a Workforce Solutions department that works with local employers to offer customized training and many other services for employers and options for prospective students interested in short-term training. 

In some cases, employers come to their local college because they can’t find skilled workers and they need the college to create a program to train future employees. There are many examples of this throughout the state. For instance, Madisonville Community College worked with Groves Electric, and Jefferson Community and Technical College worked with LG&E to create line worker programs. These programs typically can be completed in 10-12 weeks and most grads have a job lined before they complete their programs or shortly after.

This is happening all over Kentucky and not just in the utility industry. We’re seeing it in skilled trades, advanced manufacturing and health care. 

Certain health care certificates can be earned in two-eight weeks. The nurse aide program is a good example. Some students go straight to work after completing the certificate program, and others use it as a steppingstone to a nursing degree. At Ashland Community and Technical College, 400 certified Medicaid nurse aides were trained this academic year alone for local health care partners. 

In addition to these short-term credentials, Workforce Solutions is where to go for apprenticeships and other earn and learn programs like KY FAME.  Recently, the college presidents and I heard testimonials from businesses and former students about how these programs are bettering lives, improving businesses and helping local economies. We also heard from faculty members about how they’re learning to use new equipment so they can teach specific classes for local employers in fields like welding and diesel technology.   

Education after high school is imperative for Kentuckians to be successful in the workplace and as the skills required for today’s careers change, KCTCS colleges are changing to meet those needs. Visit or your local college’s website to see all we offer.