Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education


Goal: Kentucky will be stronger by generating new knowledge and research investments, producing high-demand degrees, increasing the educational attainment of its workforce, and improving its communities.

Policy Objective 7: Increase educational attainment and quality of life in Kentucky communities through regional stewardship, public service, and community outreach.

  • The Regional Stewardship Program, established in 2008, promotes regional and statewide workforce and economic development, livable communities, social inclusion, creative governance, and civic participation through public engagement activities initiated by comprehensive universities. Its purpose is to link the resources and knowledge of the universities to the needs and challenges of their respective regions. The program supports the development and maintenance of organizational structures, personnel, information systems, and community relationships; efforts to build intellectual capacity in targeted priority areas; and specific public engagement activities at the universities that improve economic prosperity, quality of life, and civic participation.

  • Project Graduate is a collaborative effort between the Council and the campuses to recruit and graduate former students still residing in Kentucky who have earned 80 or more credit hours from a Kentucky institution. The program was launched in November 2007, and the public universities began their outreach efforts in the spring 2008 term. Since that time, ten independent institutions have adopted the program. The program is meeting with considerable success. Since its start in 2007, over 600 students had earned their degrees at public institutions through Project Graduate, nearly 2,000 students have been or are currently in the program, and it has generated $7.5 million in tuition revenue for participating campuses.

  • CPE’s proposed changes to the program approval process emphasize the need to tie academic programs to workforce needs in the state. The process requires all new programs to evaluate specific workforce demands for new program graduates as well as document available internships and clinical experience agreements.

  • The Kentucky Adult Learner Initiative was launched in 2007 with support from the Lumina Foundation for Education. This collaborative, statewide effort coordinated by CPE was charged with enhancing Kentucky’s workforce and improving individual opportunity by increasing the number of working-age adults with college degrees. An advisory board with representation from business, nonprofit organizations, education, and government drafted an initial set of recommendations, and funding was provided to institutions to develop more effective approaches to serving nontraditional students. The initiative led to a statewide review of policies that affect adult students and institutional plans to create or enhance adult-friendly policies and services. Discussions are ongoing regarding state level approaches to more effectively engaging adult learners in postsecondary education.

  • The Programs of Distinction (POD) initiative provided funding for prospective programs of national excellence at the comprehensive universities that address local, regional, and state needs, including workforce and economic development. The program received $6 million in 1997-98 and $6 million in each year of the 1998-2000 biennium. These funds were matched dollar-for-dollar by the institutions with external funds or through internal reallocation. The 1999-2000 funds were transferred to the base budgets of the institutions to provide a perpetual source of funding for POD programs.

  • The Kentucky Tuning Project is a faculty-led pilot initiative designed to define what students must know, understand, and be able to demonstrate after completing a degree in a specific field. It is a process that involves students and employers in linking college degrees to workplace relevance and students’ mastery of agreed-upon learning objectives. Faculty met for over a year to align student learning outcomes with employer and graduate school requirements in the five disciplines of biology, business, elementary education, nursing, and social work. Sixty-five faculty representatives from Kentucky’s two and four-year public and independent colleges and universities participated. The Tuning process is distinctive in that it includes student, employer, and other stakeholder input in the deliberation.

  • The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) is a credential that documents employment skills critical to workforce success: applied mathematics, reading for information, and locating information. Kentucky Adult Education (KYAE) provides instruction and assessment leading to NCRC attainment for eligible students and has partnered with the Department of Workforce Investment to implement statewide. More than 1,300 KYAE students earned an NCRC last year.

  • KYAE also has piloted SkillUp Kentucky, an innovative contextualized instructional program that combines GED attainment with stackable certificates, such as the NCRC and 21st Century Employability Skills, and an opportunity to earn college credits toward a certification or degree program. SkillUp is offered in areas of in-demand, growing industry sectors so that students are working toward credentials leading to employment.
  • In 2005 a Strategic Agenda for Public Health Workgroup was convened by the Council, and representatives from the related academic programs met and drafted a Strategic Plan for Public Health Education and Research. The Kentucky Department of Public Health, EKU, WKU, UK, and UofL faculty and deans participated. Kentucky now has Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)-approved programs at the four institutions. Faculty from across the Commonwealth built the online core courses required for CEPH accreditation, and through memorandum of agreement they have made the five core courses available to students at each of the participating institutions.

  • Research and data analysis has been a key part of the Council’s work in the area of workforce and economic development. The Council’s County Profiles publication and reports like Kentucky’s Brain Gain (2007) provide important demographic and educational data to community and regional leaders and help inform policy decisions. Kentucky’s new Education Data Collaborative, led by the KY Workforce and Education Cabinet, CPE, KDE, and EPSB, will provide a powerful information and analysis infrastructure to help Kentucky more fully understand the education and workforce challenges and opportunities and appropriate policy directions for the future.

  • Developed in cooperation with Kentucky business and industry, the Workforce Development Trust Fund evolved several years ago into the Kentucky Workforce Investment Network System (KY WINS). KCTCS developed KY WINS to provide existing and new business and industry with education, training, and support services to develop better jobs and a workforce with the knowledge and skills to fill them. KCTCS has served as a major partner with the Cabinet for Economic Development as well as local and regional economic development organizations. KCTCS also supports the efforts of state and local Chambers of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Kentucky in developing a skilled workforce. As part of its strategy to establish these alliances, KCTCS works with local Workforce Investment Boards, research and comprehensive universities, independent institutions, the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, the Kentucky Technology Services, and the secondary school system.

Date: September 22, 2011


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Last Updated 10/11/2011