Anyone who has paid attention to recent economic development announcements in our region knows that we are poised for an abundance of new career opportunities. But for a student who has spent the last four years focused on academics, sports and clubs, these opportunities may not be as obvious. As students at our local high schools graduate next month, they should be made aware of the opportunities afforded to them and the local resources available to help them to get started on a successful career path.
That’s where the Kentucky Career Center-Lincoln Trail (KCC-LT) comes in. As Center Manager for KCC-LT, part of my mission and the mission of our team concerns connecting our youth to career, education and training opportunities as they prepare to enter the workforce.
Since February, my team and I have been visiting high schools throughout our eight-county region, which includes Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties, to engage with students and make them aware of services provided through KCC-LT’s Youth Programs. This direct engagement is part of our High School Graduates Initiative, which was piloted last year. Throughout our time visiting high schools, we have talked to students through school assemblies, as well as classroom visits.
Every student has their own unique personality and priorities, and our team is committed to helping them realize their full potential. Some students are confident that they want to pursue a traditional four-year degree, while others want to enter the workforce more quickly by earning certifications or by taking part in apprenticeships. Regardless of where these students see themselves, we want to help them get there.
In our region, sectors such as construction, advanced manufacturing and healthcare are booming with new job opportunities, and it is imperative for the team at KCC-LT to serve as a conduit to connect graduates who are taking their first steps into the workforce with these opportunities.
During visits to area high schools, I am joined by representatives from our direct services provider Career TEAM, LLC and our partner agency Job Corps. Through four KCC-LT locations, Career TEAM assists with employment opportunity services, including but not limited to out-of-school youth services, career coaching, resume creation, job interview preparation, and job search assistance, as well as connection and funding for training opportunities for those who qualify.
“A lot of students don’t have time for paid work experience in school or right out of school, so they’re really lacking that first line on their resume of employment, and that’s something we can help with,” said Dr. Robert Boone, chief officer for National Workforce Solutions at Career TEAM. “In addition, many students graduating from high school are still unsure about their career path, and we can provide helpful exploration of their options, including factors such as economic outlook of careers and the skill set required.”
The KCC-LT Youth Program, through Career TEAM, helps eligible 16 to 24-year-old individuals with a variety of no-cost services in the realm of post-secondary education, skills training and high-demand job opportunities. Our program can help connect young people with careers that match their interests and talents; teach them about essential workplace skills; expose them to in-demand careers and industries; determine if they qualify for free training or tuition; provide practical advice to gain employment and much more.
Through Career TEAM, students may also be eligible for up to $6,000 per school year to pay tuition for an associate’s degree in a high-demand field, the last two years of a bachelor’s degree in a high-demand field, industry certifications or similar job skills training.
The Youth Service Program is funded with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I funds through the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet and the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board.
To learn more about services provided through KCC-LT’s Youth Programs, provided both through Career TEAM and through Job Corps, visit ltcareercenter.org/youth or call 270-766-5115.
Carter Dyson serves as Center Manager for the Kentucky Career Center–Lincoln Trail. He can be reached at 270-234-5804 or email@example.com.