Many say that young people are our “future.” I disagree with this sentiment. I say young people are our “right now.” That’s why I believe one of the most important aspects of my role as Center Manager at the Kentucky Career Center–Lincoln Trail is providing resources for young people in our eight-county service region.
For many upcoming high school graduates, a college education seems either out of reach or unappealing. Some students want to pursue postsecondary education but view the prospect of paying tuition as unattainable. For other students, stepping straight into the workforce and taking on an apprenticeship after graduation seems more alluring than the college pathway. At the Career Center, we are positioned to help both of these types of students achieve their respective goals.
From career counseling to post-secondary education assistance, the Career Center can help young people in our region in a variety of ways. To get the word out, the Career Center is pursuing a new endeavor known as the High School Graduates Initiative.
Starting this month, I will begin visiting the 17 high schools in our service region, including schools in Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties. During my visits, I will engage with high school seniors and make them aware of the career and educational opportunities available through the Career Center.
For example, with help from the Career Center, some graduating seniors may be eligible for up to $4,000 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. This assistance is made possible through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
The Career Center also provides counseling for students to help them find the career field that is right for them, identify essential workplace skills they possess that can be marketable to employers, determine their qualification status for no cost training or tuition reimbursement and more.
The High School Graduates Initiative visits also will serve as a way to spread the word about our upcoming job fair at the Hardin County Extension Service Office in Elizabethtown. Set for April 27, students in the Hardin County and Elizabethtown Independent school systems will be invited to meet with local employers and get a headstart on their career paths. The event only will be available for high school seniors by invitation. It is our intent to engage all of the high schools in our service region and give them the opportunity to also participate in job fairs in their respective communities.
Though times have been challenging for students within the past two years, the resources available for high school students dealing with uncertainty about the future are more plentiful than ever. If you are a high school senior who is questioning what to do next, the best thing you can do is put yourself in the position to take advantage of opportunities available to you. And with the Career Center, opportunities are plentiful.
For more information on the Career Center, visit ltcareercenter.org.
Carter Dyson is the Center Manager at Kentucky Career Center–Lincoln Trail, which is overseen by the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. He can be reached at 270-766-5115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.