BCTC offers degrees, training programs to students in region

Published 11:16 am Thursday, March 16, 2017

After operating in Winchester for the past 17 years, one of the biggest contributions the Bluegrass Community and Technical College offers to the business community is workforce development.

“We offer customized training for other employers, which handles anything from computers to custom welding programs,” Campus Director Bruce Manley said.

But that’s just one of several things BCTC offers to Clark County and the rest of the bluegrass region.

In 2000, the school, then a part of Lexington Community College, began offering classes at the Extension office and at George Rogers Clark High School. Since merging with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and becoming BCTC — and getting a campus built in 2008 — the school’s academic offerings have only grown.

Now BCTC offers a wide variety of two-year degrees locally for Clark County residents to continue their education without leaving home. BCTC also offers the lowest tuition of any college in the state.

BCTC offers technical degrees, diplomas and certifications for trades, and the school is working hand-in-hand with the Area Technology Center to offer a 1+1 program tailored to help high school students enter the workforce early by completing the first year of a two-year program while they are still in high school.

The school has also partnered with a number of local industries, which assist in purchasing equipment for the students to learn to work with.

Manley said the partnership is largely being driven by a demand for workers in the industrial realm.

“It’s not what it used to be,” Manley said of industrial work. “One student said that they basically train to be robot doctors, and I thought that was a great way to sum it up. They diagnose problems with machines and find the solutions to them.”

BCTC took part in the Winchester-Clark County Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Community Partners program, which establishes a rating system (one to three stars) to recognize local organizations, businesses and industries that go above and beyond in their investment, promotion and contributions to the community.

Businesses and organizations may apply annually for the program, and must meet several requirements. They must be a member of the chamber of commerce in good standing, display a clean, organized and well-maintained facility, offer health and wellness programs to employees, establish recycling programs to reduce their environmental footprint, have employees who volunteer at local community nonprofit organizations and/or mentoring programs, they must participate in community events, meet a certain percentage of employees who live in Clark County, participate in local training and professional development opportunities and actively seek employees who have the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) as well as veterans.

BCTC received three stars from the program, the highest score possible.