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New partnership, $550,000 grant to help connect higher education to workforce needs in Kentucky

Complete College America (CCA) announced a $550,000 grant from Lumina Foundation to help equip Kentucky students to successfully transition from higher education into the workforce.

In response to the statewide imperative for Kentucky’s colleges and universities to dramatically increase student success and eliminate attainment gaps, CCA will partner with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) to work with the state’s two- and four-year institutions. The grant will support CCA in implementing their Purpose First strategies, which aim to create clear connections between labor needs, students’ coursework and their career goals, particularly for underrepresented minorities.

“Kentucky has taken great strides to connect higher education degrees and credentials to the workforce,” said Dr. Aaron Thompson, CPE’s president. “The partnership with CCA to implement Purpose First strategies in Kentucky will accelerate this work and result in clearer pathways to gainful employment, especially for our minority and low-income students. I’m excited to get the work started.”

To ensure greater social mobility for low-income students, whether high school graduates or displaced workers, institutions of higher learning must provide relevant information associated with all careers and link academic pathways to all programs of study, clearly identifying connections between learning outcomes and job competencies for students.

“We are very pleased to support this exciting new partnership between Complete College America and the Kentucky Council for Postsecondary Education,” said Lumina Foundation Vice President Debra Humphreys. “The work will build on the progress Kentucky has already made and will ensure that all students have the advising and support they need to choose a program of study that not only aligns with their personal goals and interests but also with regional workforce demands.”

Kentucky has been a member of CCA’s 48-member alliance for 10 years. The alliance comprises states, systems, institutional consortia and partner organizations taking bold actions to significantly increase the number of students successfully completing college.

“Engaging students with their choices of certificates or degrees and highlighting the connections between what they are learning and their future careers is crucial to student success, especially for low-income students, first-generation college-going students, adult learners and minoritized students,” said Dr. Yolanda Watson Spiva, president of CCA. “Complete College America looks forward to partnering with higher education and workforce leaders across Kentucky to develop strategies that will enhance the good work already underway and support more students to complete a degree of value.”

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

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