Education of the workforce is an important part of our mission at ACTC. For many decades, the college has offered career programs for immediate employment after graduation as well as transfer programs for baccalaureate degrees. The importance of those career programs was underlined this year by the furlough of AK Steel employees.
Last spring, the Boyd County Adult Education Program partnered with the college to begin working with over 300 laid off AK Steel workers to help them prepare for college, job training and job certifications. Through a testing session on April 29, the former AK employees determined their eligibility for TAA benefits, college, the National Career Readiness Certification and the Kentucky Essential Skills Certification. Over the summer, the Adult Education program located at ACTC’s College Drive Campus worked with the over 200 furloughed AK employees to refresh their knowledge in academic areas and prepare for new employment.
Many used their refresher courses to prepare for college, and I’m pleased to announce that we have 195 former AK Steel employees enrolled in credit classes this fall. These new students are preparing for a variety of new careers. Most have chosen technical programs such as Welding, Electrical Technology, CADD, Industrial Maintenance and Applied Process Technology. Some have selected to start in health care fields and university transfer programs. Whatever their choice, they are using this opportunity to get ready for new jobs that will give them a more secure future.
No one is pleased when jobs are lost, and we know that education is the only way to move on. Most of our young people will have several jobs in their lifetimes, and some of those jobs do not even exist now. We also know that technological advances and economic factors will affect some current jobs to the point that continuing education and retraining will be needed in order to keep those jobs. Helping new, returning and continuing students adapt and prepare for career changes and advances is a commitment we take seriously.