In an effort to meet the heightening demand for healthcare workers across the Commonwealth, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) announced the launch of the state’s third Kentucky Advanced Technical College High (K-TECH) for students in Northern Kentucky.
Through a collaborative effort with the Online Loans in Kentucky - COMPACOM, Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Northern Kentucky University and Gateway Community and Technical College, K-TECH will focus on preparing the future workforce for healthcare careers by increasing the number of students participating in STEM courses in high school and post-secondary schools.
“K-TECH offers an excellent opportunity for our partners in Northern Kentucky to utilize apprenticeship as an avenue for fostering the skills of our future workforce,” said Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Derrick K. Ramsey. “By merging apprenticeship and education, Kentucky is able to build career pipelines that ensure students are prepared to successfully transition and excel in a competitive workforce.” In an effort to prepare the state’s future workforce, EWDC awarded $651,150 for the implementation of K-TECH to enhance skills and provide students with access to apprenticeship opportunities within the healthcare field. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations play a significant role in the expansion of Kentucky’s economy. K-TECH is designed to help Kentucky meet the heightening demand for workers with STEM skills by incorporating apprenticeships in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into high school curriculum.
“We truly appreciate the support of Secretary Derrick Ramsey, in making K-TECH available to our region. Healthcare is a high demand sector in our regional economy and important to the business community,” said Brent Cooper, President and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “It will be a tremendous boost to our GROW NKY initiative, which is focused on growing, attracting and retaining the talent necessary to fuel our vibrant Northern Kentucky economy.”
The demand for healthcare workers in Kentucky continues to increase year after year. As one of the five high demand job sectors in Kentucky, healthcare occupations are expected to grow by more than 12.7% by 2024 and account for 9.8% of all jobs in Kentucky by 2026.
“St. Elizabeth is pleased to partner with the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services and the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet on implementation of K-TECH,” said Garren Colvin, President and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “We look forward to working collaboratively with the education community to meet the demand for high-quality healthcare professionals across our region.”
K-TECH provides students in grades 9-12 with traditional high school subjects in combination with an advanced STEM curriculum developed by local business and industry partners. Through the program, students will have the opportunity to meet potential employers, take dual credit course work, receive soft skills training, and participate in paid apprenticeships. “The Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services is pleased to join our regional partners to serve as the fiscal agent for the K-TECH funding.
This funding will enable our local school districts to further our goal of expanding apprenticeship opportunities for students while strengthening our relationship with St. Elizabeth Healthcare,” said Dr. David Rust, President, Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services. “We hope to build a model that can be sustained through a continued public-private relationship, eventually being grown and replicated beyond healthcare, to other workforce sectors. We want to thank Secretary Ramsey and the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet for investing in Northern Kentucky and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for their continued partnership.”
The K-TECH curriculum is designed to build students’ technical and non-technical skills to help them excel in school and the workforce. The curriculum matches each student with an industry mentor for the duration of the program and progressively builds opportunities for students to connect classroom learning to real-life situations and applications. Mentors work closely with teachers to help guide students through practical projects and problem-solving exercises.
The Northern Kentucky K-TECH initiative is the third program launched in Kentucky under the leadership of Secretary Derrick K. Ramsey. K-TECH programs are also available in Hazard and Pikeville. An additional program will be launched later this year in partnership with Bluegrass Community and Technical College for students in Fayette County.