What’s new at Kentucky colleges? In a word—plenty. With innovative programs from aerospace engineering degrees to work ready certificates, the commonwealth’s campuses are preparing students for successful futures.
Across the state—and the country—there’s a need for qualified, skilled and licensed technicians. Through a variety of affordable work ready certificate programs, Campbellsville University’s Technology Training Center is equipping students to fill these workforce roles.
Last year, Campbellsville launched a new pipe welding program, plus another in esthetics, which prepares students for beauty industry careers. Just last month, the university opened enrollment in two new programs—massage therapy and plumbing technology, the latter a nine-month program focusing on fundamentals and a broad spectrum of skills.
“What we aim to do through the Technology Training Center is provide basically a smorgasbord of training programs, which lead to careers that can become very successful,” says Jason Roop, the center’s director.
Other technical job training certificates include allied health, cosmetology, barbering, welding and HVAC. Campbellsville also recently began offering CU Expand, featuring 20 fully online certificates ranging from cybersecurity and leadership to manufacturing.
University of Kentucky
“Our goal is to flood the field with UK engineering talent,” says Rudolph Buchheit, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering. The university has worked to expand degree offerings.
In May 2020, the UK College of Engineering added an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. The program appeals to students seeking a career in industry, government agencies or health care professions.
Last year, the College of Engineering and Bluegrass Community & Technical College partnered to offer students an Associate of Applied Science and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology. Thanks in part to a $2.25 million gift from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, two four-year undergraduate degrees in lean systems engineering technology and computer engineering technology will be offered through the new Department of Engineering Technology.
“These programs are expected to appeal to students with the strongest ‘hands-on’ attitude and produce graduates prepared for a portion of the technical workforce spectrum that is currently underserved,” says Buchheit.
Morehead State University
The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics at Morehead State is a dual-credit academy for academically gifted and talented Kentucky high schoolers. This STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering and math) program provides students with a postsecondary residential experience to complete their junior and senior years of high school by enrolling in college courses.
The program recently expanded incoming classes from 60 to 74, enabling more students to receive a full scholarship. “They will have the opportunity of a lifetime to complete two years of college credit at Morehead State University while also receiving room and board,” says Sydney Kester, assistant director of admissions, public relations and recruitment.
In the 2020-21 school year, approximately 40 Craft Academy students participated in research or approved special projects, many working hands-on in ongoing research conducted by MSU faculty. Kester says that number is projected to increase by the end of the 2021–22 school year.
University of the Cumberlands
Located in the heart of Appalachia, University of the Cumberlands has been named a College of Distinction for the fourth consecutive year.
“It highlights our commitment to our mission, that is to serve underserved populations with advanced academic programming and making it affordable,” says Christopher Leskiw, vice president for Academic Affairs.
Dedicated to workforce readiness programs in the region, the university opened the Appalachian Institute in 2021. With simulation labs and classrooms, the space is home to health care initiatives like nursing and dietary manager programs. To further benefit the community, Leskiw says, “We’re attempting to be a regional training provider for local hospitals.”
Last year, the university also added a new online Master of Science in Cyber-Engineering program, blending the fields of security and infrastructure to bridge the gap for information technology professionals.
What’s new for 2022? Just last month, Cumberlands began accepting applications for a new Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Classes begin in January 2023.
Last July, Spalding University in Louisville received a $2 million gift from Kosair Charities to transform a South Third Street building into a 21,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art learning facility: Kosair Charities School of Physical Therapy and Center for Interprofessional Education. This campus will house Spalding’s new Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, expected to open in Fall 2022.
The entry-level DPT will feature a hybrid, low-residency program, blending online lectures with on-site lab experiences. Another unique aspect is the opportunity for pediatric specialization, something much needed in the Kentucky, according to Caroline Heine, chief advancement officer.
“It’s a complementary addition for Spalding, along with our other health care and mental health care educational programming, so we’re very excited about it,” says Heine.