Governor Steve Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday teamed up with ACT, Inc. today to celebrate Kentucky's progress toward the goal of college- and career-readiness for all students and recognize those who embody or advance the state's commitment to preparing students for success.
"From preschool to career, getting students ready to take the next step is vital not only to their future but Kentucky's future," said Gov. Beshear. "Our ability to create and maintain an energetic and highly trained workforce depends on that preparation. Education is the single-biggest factor in determining long-term success for our state -- whether success is defined by the quality of life for our people, the stability of our economy, or the competitive strength of our business sector," Gov. Beshear said.
The event was part of the ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign that celebrates achievement and creates awareness around the goal of college and career readiness for all.
Kentucky is one of seven states (others are Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina and Wisconsin) invited to participate in the national campaign's inaugural year.
Commissioner Holliday said the Kentucky Board of Education's "Unbridled Learning: College/ Career-Readiness for All' initiative is the department's top priority. "By gaining the knowledge and skills they will need in college, postsecondary training, military or the workplace, students can be confident they will be successful whatever path they choose," he said. "We appreciate the efforts of the Governor, and our many other our partners in helping us make progress toward our goal."
In 2010, only 34 percent of students in Kentucky graduated from high school ready for college/career. By 2012, that number had risen to 47 percent, Holliday said.
As part of its campaign, today, ACT recognized Kentuckians who demonstrate exemplary college and career readiness efforts. They were selected based on a variety of criteria by a state committee representing business, education and government. Kentucky's winners are:
- Citi, Workplace Success Award -- Education is a major focus of Citi's philanthropic efforts, business programs and employee volunteer efforts. Citi (Florence, KY), employs nearly 2,200 people in the northern Kentucky area.
- Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC), Career Preparedness Award --Many of HCTC's incoming students live in poverty and do not meet statewide benchmarks for taking credit-bearing courses. Yet, the college retains students, promotes success and realizes transfers to 4-year institutions at higher rates than predicted from entering test scores.
- Murray High School (Murray Independent), College and Career Transition
Award --Murray High School has 444 students and performs in the top four percent of all Kentucky high schools. The school had no dropouts last year, and graduates of the 2012 class have all successfully transitioned to college, vocational training, or the military.
- Devin O'Neil Morton, Student Readiness Award --A senior at Lafayette High School (Fayette Co.), Devin is an excellent student, an active member of the French Club, Beta Club and Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honor society.
"We are excited to stand with states to recognize leaders in advancing or embodying successful readiness for college and career," said Jon Whitmore, chief executive officer of ACT. "More exciting is that each state announcement is just one component of a campaign that will highlight college and career readiness efforts across the education and workforce continuum."
A national selection committee comprised of education and workforce development leaders will review all state recipients and select one honoree per category for national recognition. Recipients will be recognized at the ACT National Gala on College and Career Readiness in Washington, D.C. May 21.