Last updated: November 12. 2013 9:29AM - 496 Views

James Chafin is the Accelerated Opportunity coordinator at Big Sandy Community and Technical College.
James Chafin is the Accelerated Opportunity coordinator at Big Sandy Community and Technical College.
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PRESTONSBURG – Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) is proud to announce the launch of its Accelerated Opportunity program in January. The three-year grant program is a partnership between the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), Jobs for the Future (JFF), Kentucky Adult Education and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The grant assists students with added academic support to help achieve a credential in a shorter period of time. Through the help of a success coach and personalized classroom approach combining basic education and technical skills, the goal is to move students into relevant educational opportunities that can result in a job with family sustaining wages.

“This is really a one-on-one approach that eliminates barriers many adults have in completing a credential at the postsecondary level,” said James Chafin, Accelerating Opportunity coordinator at BSCTC. “Our plan of action allows students to progress in their academic and technical skills simultaneously to ensure success and completion.”

Nationally, more than 26 million adults lack a high school diploma. While just more than 2.5 million of these individuals are enrolled in adult basic education programs, only three percent actually earn a postsecondary credential, with many leaving after only a semester or two. In Kentucky alone there are more than 419,302 under-skilled adults. The trend will only continue—by 2018, 54 percent of all jobs in Kentucky will require workers with some form of postsecondary credentials. This exacerbates the current difficulty employers across the state report in finding qualified workers who can fill skilled positions.

Students enrolled in Accelerated Opportunity at BSCTC can pick two career pathways – industrial maintenance and allied health/nursing. Students who complete the allied health track will graduate with either a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Kentucky Medication Aid certification.

“By obtaining a credential, a student can enter the workforce or build on the existing credential,” said Chafin. “It’s a pathway that leads to so many options and builds confidence in our students.”

Accelerating Opportunity is funded by a strategic collaboration of diverse philanthropies including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.

For more information, contact Chafin at (606) 788-2845 or email jchafin0005@kctcs.edu.

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