Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed an Executive Order July 11, expanding the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship (WRKS) to include students enrolled in certificate, diploma, and associate of applied science degree in the state’s top five high-demand workforce sectors. Additionally, the scholarship will now be available for high school students for dual credit career and technical education (CTE) courses in pathways in Kentucky’s top five high-demand sectors leading to industry-recognized certifications.
“We are excited to be expanding our innovative Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program to empower even more students and adults to pursue their dreams,” said Gov. Bevin. “This program is equipping individuals of all ages for the high-demand careers that are available in the Commonwealth today. At the same time, it is strengthening our workforce and continuing to make Kentucky the ideal location for businesses to thrive and grow.”
The scholarship, initially announced by Gov. Bevin in December 2016, provides financial aid for eligible Kentuckians who have not yet earned at least an associate’s degree. Through the WRKS, eligible students can receive funding to study in any of the following high-demand fields of work including:
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Business and IT
- Construction Trades
- Transportation and Logistics
“We are delighted that the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship can now be used for students to obtain associate’s degrees,” said Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Derrick K. Ramsey. “This will go a long way in helping prepare Kentuckians for the 160,000-plus open jobs in the Commonwealth, the majority of which require training and education beyond a high school diploma.”
Prior to the July 2018 executive order, WRKS only provided tuition for up to 32 credit hours and was aimed at providing career certifications. The scholarship can now also be used for high school students interested in pursuing careers in the five high-demand sectors. Kentucky’s Dual Credit Scholarship Program covers the cost of two dual credit courses for high school students. Now with the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, depending on students’ course of study, they will have the opportunity to earn up to 30 credit hours of dual credit with tuition and fees covered by state scholarship programs.
“This expansion of the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship is critical for aggressively attacking Kentucky’s skills gap and preparing our students for postsecondary education and the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Interim Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis. “No other state has made comparable investments in dual credit coursework generally, or in advancing CTE dual credit coursework specifically. This program and its expansion show that Kentucky is serious about improving high school students’ postsecondary and workforce readiness, and providing equitable opportunities for students.”
The scholarship can also be utilized by adults without a high school diploma who wish to pursue their career certification or associate of applied science degree in tandem with obtaining a GED through the Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky program offered through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
You can learn more about the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship through helpwantedky.com, including eligibility requirements, participating colleges and universities, and certificates, diplomas and degrees available in each of the five industries.