Haven’t enrolled yet? It’s not too late.

by Paul Czarapata - August 2, 2022

In a recent op-ed, Big Sandy Community and Technical College Interim President Telly Sellars wrote about the Great Interruption. This is a term used to describe the high percentage of people, particularly young adults, who are not enrolling in college. As Dr. Sellars wrote: “Empty chairs in college classrooms equal fewer nurses and health care workers, welders, teachers, accountants, computer programmers, business leaders, etc. Delays for medical appointments, longer waits for car and house repairs, and larger classroom sizes for children mean stress on an already strained workforce.”

It's no secret there’s a large number of job openings in Kentucky and many of them pay well. So, why aren’t Kentuckians getting the training they need for these good careers?

We know there are several reasons behind the choices people have made, and two of those are the cost and time it takes to earn a degree. These misperceptions are costing people good jobs and causing employers to try to do more with fewer people. Let me reiterate what I’ve said many times in my blogs and social media posts: A bachelor’s degree is not required for many good careers. There are numerous options for those who don’t want to sit in a classroom for four years or more.

Our recent research shows that a lot of Kentuckians don’t know about all the technical programs our 16 colleges offer. Some are short-term; others are associate degree programs. 

The public is familiar with our transfer mission, which is extremely important. About half of our students transfer to a four-year partner. But for those who are interested in skilled trades, health care, CDL, line worker and many other shorter-term programs, our colleges are the place to go. 

Additionally, cost should not be an issue for most of our technical programs. They are covered by the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, which provides free tuition for up to 60 hours. The scholarship is funded by the Kentucky Lottery, and we are very appreciative of this.

It all starts with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Yes, it’s time consuming and not much fun. But without it, prospective students can miss out on many types of financial aid. The FAFSA is the first step to learning what’s available to each student based on needs and qualifications. To apply for the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, the FAFSA must be filed first. 

As Dr. Sellars says in his op-ed, let’s turn the Great Interruption into the Great Comeback. It’s not too late to enroll for the fall semester. Classes begin August 15, and we hope to see our colleges bustling with students. To learn more about programs and admissions, visit kctcs.edu or your local college website.