Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

CPE begins final phase of Lumina-backed outreach efforts

November 25, 2020

The Council is launching the final phase of a $400,000 grant project – funded by Lumina Foundation – to improve outreach and support for college-going adults.

CPE secured the grant from Lumina in 2018 to develop Kentucky's Adult Promise program, a multi-level strategy to raise awareness of educational opportunities and increase enrollment among adult learners.

It targets working-age adults ages 25 to 64 who have no prior postsecondary credential. Over the past two years, the program has helped improve advising and mentoring services and educate adults about the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship.

The latest initiative, already underway, is a new awareness campaign on radio and social media to promote the scholarship statewide. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is the lead partner for the campaign.

Kentuckians of all ages should know they are capable of achieving success. - CPE President Aaron Thompson

The campaign will run through June 2021, and features hip-hop artist Buffalo "B." Stille of Nappy Roots, who challenges Kentuckians to "Never Underestimate You!" when it comes to earning a postsecondary credential.

CPE President Aaron Thompson said the initiative builds on previous work to raise attainment among adults, strengthen the workforce, and ultimately transform lives.

"Kentuckians of all ages should know they are capable of achieving success, and more importantly, they are not alone in their efforts," Thompson said. "Our outreach will have a lasting impact on both the workforce and the quality of life in our state, and I want to thank Lumina for recognizing the importance of this mission field."

The scholarship, which began in 2017, covers the remaining cost of tuition after federal, state and campus grants and scholarships are applied. It provides up to 60 hours of tuition for anyone who has not yet earned an applied associate degree in high-demand technical programs.

Kentucky was among six states included in Lumina's second round of grant funding for adult outreach. To qualify, Lumina required states to have active financial aid programs for adults and to show a strong commitment to achieving fair-and-just educational outcomes among people of color.

States also had to show clear intentions to promote systemic change benefiting adults, and buy-in among key stakeholders like employers, public campuses, community organizations and state leaders.

CPE has used the funds for several projects since receiving the initial $400,000 grant.

CPE partnered with The Graduate! Network to pilot a grassroots ambassador program with Hazard Community and Technical College, Jefferson Community and Technical College and Madisonville Community College. The program trained coordinators to recruit community volunteers to spread the word about college opportunities for adults.

CPE and The Graduate! Network later co-sponsored the 2020 Comebacker Convening to help campuses more effectively recruit and serve the adult market, which attracted more than 200 participants from Kentucky higher education institutions.

"This grant has allowed us to make some crucial headway among adults at a pivotal time," said Lee Nimocks, CPE's vice president for strategy and chief of staff. "We owe a great deal of gratitude to Lumina and to our partners, who have helped position Kentucky to make the most of this funding opportunity."

Last Updated: 7/22/2021