Monday March 3, 2008
KentuckianaWorks initiative will aid students pursuing associate’s degrees
Mayor Jerry Abramson announced today that $1 million in college scholarships are available to help Louisville-area residents finish their associate’s degrees. The money is part of the mayor’s effort to increase the city’s educational levels through the Graduate Greater Louisville initiative, unveiled in February.
The KentuckianaWorks Scholars program will help 500 people in the 2008-2009 academic year by giving them up to $3,000 for tuition and up to $600 for books and supplies.
“Raising the educational level in Louisville is one of the most important things we can do to shape the future of our region—for both our individual citizens and for economic development,” Abramson said.
The $1 million comes from the Workforce Investment Act, the federal government’s principal investment in raising the skills of adult workers. Congressman Yarmuth, a member of the Committee on Education and Labor, oversees the workforce development dollars.
“A two-year associate’s degree is a key to helping people get better-paying jobs,” Yarmuth said. “Data shows that people in Louisville with an associate’s degree earn $262,500 more over a lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma. That is why this federal funding is so critically important.”
The $1 million will be awarded to students who have a year left to finish their associate’s degrees. Students must complete college by December 2009 and maintain at least a “C” average.
The most recent update to the KentuckianaWorks Human Capital Scorecard, prepared by Dr. Paul Coomes at University of Louisville, showed that 2,458 associate’s degrees were awarded in the Louisville area in 2006, ranking the region ninth among 16 peer cities.
By adding 500 additional associate’s degrees and continuing at the same growth rate, the metro region would jump to fifth.
“We know that the affordability of two years of school is a huge barrier to many students,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks. “This barrier forces many of them into situations where they work too many hours and their studies suffer. Or sometimes, they drop out because they cannot afford school, family, work and personal responsibilities. We hope to address these issues with this program.”
For more information on qualifications and applying, contact a KentuckianaWorks Scholarship Program career counselor by calling toll-free, 1-877-639-7559 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.