Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

President’s Message: Inclusion is key to strengthening the workforce

November 16, 2021

Aaron Thompson

One of the most important decisions a college-bound student makes is which institution they will entrust with their education. Choosing the school that is the right fit— one that is affordable, offers the degree or credential the student wants to pursue, and is a good match academically, socially and culturally—often determines a student’s success.

The more diverse choices we can provide students, the better. Historically black colleges and universities hold a unique place among our higher education offerings. HBCUs disproportionately serve low-income, first-generation, underrepresented minorities and academically underprepared college students—the very populations we must reach to increase college completion rates and strengthen our workforce.

Kentucky State University, in addition to being the only public HBCU in the state, plays a vital role in our education and workforce development ecosystem. Its distinguished nursing and computer science programs are preparing students for jobs in in-demand fields. The land-grant institution performs nationally recognized research right here in our capital city on their 200-acre agricultural research farm and 14-acre aquaculture facility.

KSU is an asset we can’t afford to lose. To that end, Gov. Andy Beshear tasked CPE with developing a management and improvement plan to get KSU back on solid financial footing. But the goal is not simply for this historic institution to survive; it must thrive.

As one of the most diverse public institutions in the nation, preserving and strengthening KSU is also a fundamental part of the Council’s dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion. These values are woven into the fabric of the Council’s 2022-2030 strategic agenda. As we look forward to 2022, we will make sure our work continues to put those values into action:

In order to meet our target of having 60% of working-age Kentuckians with a certificate or degree by 2030, our higher education system must meet the needs of every demographic of students. Across the state, we’re continuing to close achievement gaps with targeted supports for both students and campuses. And we’re working hard to ensure that KSU regains its footing and becomes a thriving university that serves both students and the workforce for generations to come.

Thompson signature
Aaron Thompson, Ph.D.

Read more great content about these topics:  president  

Last Updated: 11/23/2021