Do you know the kind of places where your students come from — and what is important to them and their families back home? Have you been thinking about creating a summer bridge program or an outreach project for community-based learning? Do your homework first, and here’s a terrific resource for you.
The Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS) released this week the Kentucky County Profiles 2014-15. The report offers a breakdown of regional demographics, educational attainment, college readiness, employment by sector, education pipeline, college enrollment, college financial aid information about each of Kentucky’s 120 counties. It also focuses in on each of the state’s Area Development Districts, Workforce Investment Areas, Appalachian and Non-Appalachian regions.
Other general highlights about Kentucky overall are presented in a two-page summary sheet. UK is still the top college for Kentucky’s public high school graduates – though Western Kentucky University’s numbers continue to rise over the decades and this year is at a very close second in the state. UK’s biggest transfer feeder institution, Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), has nearly as many Kentucky high school graduates as the University of Louisville. What seems a daunting task – given the massive public relations for college readiness and aspiring to college in Kentucky for the past decade – nearly 40% of our public school graduates chose not to attend any college at all in 2011.
This year, KCEWS also compares information about Kentucky’s Appalachian with Non-Appalachian regions. One of the main points presented in this new section is that adults in Appalachian Kentucky are nearly twice as likely to have less than a high school diploma and only half as likely to have a bachelor’s degree or above (12.8%) than their non-Appalachian counterparts (24.1%). Comparing this region’s educational attainment to the overall population of the US leaves all of here in Kentucky the poorer in vision and hope for the future. More than one out of every four people in Appalachian Kentucky lives in poverty and almost two-thirds (65%) of all public school children in the region are eligible for free and/or reduced lunch. However, we need to keep in mind that the percentage of Kentuckians living in poverty has been increasing gradually since 2010.
Our state’s rural and small village characteristics show in their continued dependence on federal and state revenues for jobs in the health and education sectors (making up nearly 40% of 2012 employment). Though manufacturing and construction are considered important to our state’s financial future, it makes up only 16.9% of employment opportunities for Kentuckians. Jobs in mining, agriculture and other national resources – all of which remain steadfast in claiming public attention for political and marketing reasons – offered a meager 1.6% of our state’s employment in 2012.
Visit the KCEWS website at https://kentuckyp20.ky.gov/CountyProfile201415.aspx to search on a particular county, Workforce Investment Board, or Area Development District. Visit this page also to download a .pdf file of the full report.