Jan. 12, 2021
Versailles, Ky. - At this time of year, people tend to think about how they can improve themselves. The answer for some might be the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship.
Today, during a virtual press conference, Buffalo “B.” Stille of the Grammy nominated Nappy Roots talked about why Kentuckians should take advantage of the scholarship.
“I believe that education is the one thing that nobody can take away from you,” Stille said. “The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program is amazing because it offers a lot of different skills sets and is tuition free. If I can go back to school, anybody can do it.”
The scholarship began in 2017 and provides up to 60 hours of tuition for those who qualify. Over 350 courses are available in high-demand programs in health care, manufacturing, business and information technology, construction/skilled trades and transportation/logistics.
Because so many people lost their jobs during COVID-19, a new campaign to promote the scholarship kicked off in November. Gov. Andy Beshear announced the campaign and played a rap Stille created for campaign ads.
“B. Stille’s rap says: Never underestimate you! This is because many of our current and prospective students often underestimate what they’re capable of,” Paul Czarapata, Kentucky Community and Technical College System interim president said. “Stille’s message is: You can go to college, and you can be successful. He believes if he can do it, anyone can.”
The scholarship is funded by the Kentucky Lottery. Mary Harville, Kentucky Lottery president and CEO, said during the press conference more than 5,600 students have received nearly $17 million in Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship funds, all of which came from the Lottery.
Aaron Thompson, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, who also spoke at the press conference, talked about Kentucky’s higher education attainment level, which is lower than the national average. He also talked about how a better educated workforce helps the entire state.
Attendees heard from two KCTCS scholarship recipients who discussed the difference the scholarship has made in their lives. Mallory Fish, RN, a graduate of Hopkinsville Community College, said she was grateful to have her financial burden lifted because of the scholarship. She’s works at a local hospital on the Med-Surg/COVID floor and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Cory Wilson, a graduate of Owensboro Community and Technical College, earned an associate degree in engineering and electronics technology and a second associate degree in industrial maintenance technology. He said because of the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, he graduated debt free. He now works for Owensboro Grain.
In addition to KCTCS, courses are available at Campbellsville University, Eastern Kentucky University, Galen College of Nursing, MedQuest College, Northern Kentucky University, Sullivan University, University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University.
The campaign is a partnership between KCTCS, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Kentucky Lottery, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, The Graduate Network, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and AARP Kentucky. It also is supported and partially funded by Lumina Foundation.
Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before completing the Work Ready application. A hotline (833-711-WRKS) and a live web chat offer assistance from college advisors on how to enroll in the program.
For more information about the scholarship and a free download of B. Stille’s new single, visit workreadykentucky.com. To see the full press conference, visit https://youtu.be/pBqWfEimu6Q or the KCTCS Facebook page.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is the Commonwealth’s largest postsecondary institution with 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses. We also are Kentucky’s largest provider of workforce and online education. Through partnerships with business and industry, we align our programs to meet the needs of local employers. Our colleges are united in their commitment to making life better for our students, communities and the citizens of Kentucky. To date, KCTCS has served one million Kentuckians.
Kentucky has one of the lowest educational attainment rates in the country. Current
educational attainment rate is 49.1% (national is 51.3%). We need to get to 60% by 2030 (CPE).
Kentucky ranks at the bottom in the nation in workforce participation (as of September 2018) at 58.8% vs. a 62.4% national average. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce data illustrates a consistent rise in the labor force participation rates as education levels increase from a high school diploma to a post-secondary degree.
The lack of an educated, skilled workforce is negatively impacting the state’s ability to attract and retain businesses.
It is also negatively impacting the quality of life of citizens.
COVID-19 is making this situation worse with many experiencing job insecurities.
According to a September 25 Forbes article:
Additionally, they want these programs to count toward a degree.
The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program addresses these needs because it is focused on short-term programs in Kentucky’s high demand sectors.
Born in Louisville on November 9, 1979, Brian Scott better known by his stage
name B. Stille, is an American rapper, songwriter, producer, actor and entrepreneur. He is one of six original members of the multi-platinum selling group “Nappy Roots.”
Scott was an All-State athlete who played football for Louisville Male High School.
He was recruited to play college football for Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green. It was at WKU where Scott met his soon to be group members “Nappy Roots.” After coming into a life changing opportunity, he and his family decided to put his academic and football career on hold and take a chance at chasing his dream of a music career. His dream would then be followed with a promise to go back and fulfill his mother’s dream of him completing his college education later, which he did. He graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership in 2019.
Scott signed with Atlantic Records in 1998 and won a “BMI” award for Best-selling Rap Group four years later. He has toured with Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, Dave Mathews, Kid Rock and many more.
Scott’s legendary voice is complemented by his southern raspy tone, descriptive word play and unparalleled lyrical brevity. He started rapping at age 11 and signed his first major record deal at the age of 18. He draws influence from the likes of Tupac Shakur, Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, OutKast, Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes and Jay-Z. His favorite artists are the rappers from the group “Nappy Roots.”
Mallory Fish is a Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship recipient and recent nursing graduate of Hopkinsville Community College (HCC). She began her journey in HCC’s Associate Degree Nursing Program in the fall of 2018 and graduated in December 2020.
Mallory received the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship her first semester and continued receiving it until she graduated. “The scholarship was definitely a big part of my decision to attend HCC,” she said. “I knew if I was fortunate enough to get the scholarship, that some of my financial burden would be lifted.”
After graduation, she was offered a job as an RN at the local hospital on the Med-Surg/COVID floor. Mallory plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science in nursing at Murray State University in the fall of 2021.
“Once I finish that degree, I hope to transfer to the Maternity or Emergency Department,” Mallory said. “I have lived in this area for 20 years and have no plans to leave my hometown,” she continued.
Corey Wilson started at Owensboro Community & Technical College while he was a high school student at Apollo High School. He started taking Electronics and Engineering courses and knew that he was in a field in that challenged him. After graduating in 2018 he enrolled at OCTC full time and applied for the GO FAME program, which focused on Industrial Maintenance Technology.
“I knew that I needed more skills and knowledge to succeed and getting the opportunity to work in the field while I was in school made perfect sense to me. Plus getting a mentor at Sun Windows was a great benefit” added Wilson.
Wilson completed his tenure at Sun Windows and recently moved to a position on the Maintenance team at Owensboro Grain. “I was well prepared for my career; Owensboro Grain had a 140-question test for new hires, and I nailed the majority of those questions”.
While some of Wilson’s tuition was covered through the GO FAME program and he was eligible for some grants, he was able to utilize the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship funds in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and graduated with two Associate in Applied Science degrees.
“Thanks in part to the Work Ready KY Scholarship I was able to graduate debt free” Wilson added.
When asked to reflect on his time at OCTC he commented, “The classroom and lab experiences at OCTC were great but adding in the real-world industry experience made everything make sense. It gave me the confidence to know that I can go anywhere and am armed with the skills needed to succeed.”
Wilson just purchased his first home in November, where he lives with his two dogs. He enjoys fishing and duck hunting in his spare time. He is engaged to Ashton Underhill, and they plan to get married in 2022.
About Owensboro Grain
Founded in 1906, the 5th generation family-owned Owensboro Grain Company produces a vast array of products from soybeans, at plant locations on the Ohio River in Western Kentucky. Soy products include protein meal and hull pellets for animal feeds, crude and degummed oil, lecithin, various blends of refined vegetable oil for human consumption, biodiesel, glycerin, and industrial waxes.