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JCTC Carrollton’s campus kicks off Future 42 initiative

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By Jacob Blair

An ongoing partnership over many years between Jefferson Community and Technical College’s Carrollton campus and local industry leaders now has a brand, a logo and a renewed sense of urgency highlighted by leaders Thursday evening as part of the Future 42 Signing Day.

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“In the next two to seven years, 44 percent of our job market will retire,” said Heather Yocum, director of the JCTC Carrollton Campus. “That means 20 to 30 years of experience will go out the door. The time is now to get more students in the pipeline for these programs.”

Future 42, billed as “the high-tech highway to advanced manufacturing careers,” consists of the college’s applied process technologies, engineering and electronics technology and welding programs. Industry partners include Dow, Kentucky Utilities, Louisville Gas and Electric, North American Stainless, Nucor and PMC Organometallix.

“Each of these companies are looking for students like yourself to come and work for them one day,” Yocum said. “These jobs with a two-year degree can pay between $60,000 and $75,000 per year.”

JCTC’s program allows students the opportunity for internships and scholarship and a repeated statistic during the event, a 95 to 98 percent job placement rate.

“If you’re a student here in these career fields, I think you’re going to see the demand for your skill set is going to be very high and that you’re going to have a lot of respect for the work that you do here,” said Ty Handy, president of Jefferson Community and Technical College. ”Respect from us, respect from this community and most importantly respect from the employers who need the skill set that you’re going to be developing.”

Ervin Dimeny, adviser to the Secretary of Education and Workforce Development, talked with students and family members about his own educational experience.

“About 30 years ago, I was in your seat trying to figure out what’s next as a high school graduate,” Dimeny said. “I grew up and was born and raised in Romania, very different circumstances. There was not a lot of opportunities for a career and something that stuck with me was my father and his advice to me and my two younger brothers. Learn something to do with your hands and learn something with your mind.”

He urged the students to apply themselves, be curious, learn and find opportunity to work.

“Employers will appreciate that and your public will appreciate that. We as Kentucky appreciate those who are productive citizens,” Dimeny said. “From Secretary (Derrick) Ramsey’s office, from the governor’s office, I want to congratulate you and I wish you success and kudos to this community and JCTC for this wonderful building. It’s wonderful to see the collaboration and what can be done when a community comes together.”

Amberly Yates, an applied process technology graduate from JCTC’s Carrollton campus who went on to earn a bachelor’s at Eastern Kentucky, also gave a short remark about how she took advantage of the local opportunity.

“I knew I liked chemistry and math and I knew I wanted to stay in the area,” Yates said. “When Jefferson came up with what used to be the JumpStart scholarship nearly 20 years ago, I took full advantage and I highly recommend it.”

After the opening remarks concluded, 18 students were invited to sign certificates at a table with a JCTC backdrop behind it, much like the traditional signing day for collegiate athletic programs, and were presented with a Future 42 T-shirt and photo opportunity.