'A rising tide lifts all ships': PMC partnership offers free GED classes for employees

Published: Nov. 8, 2019 at 6:40 PM EST
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Pikeville Medical Center announced a new apprenticeship program Friday, offering help to people who are seeking to follow their dreams in the medical field.

From high school students to adults looking for a second chance, PMC is offering a few different options. The newest of those come through the Employee Outreach Program.

PMC recently began accepting applicants who have not yet completed their high school requirements, under the understanding that they are working toward their GEDs. Now the hospital is connecting people to higher education.

The hospital offers a dual-credit apprenticeship program for 100 local high school students who want to pursue a degree in the medical field and will now offer free GED classes through Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) for employees who are working to obtain a higher education.

"Pikeville Medical is on record saying, 'We want to support. We want to give people a second chance and a third chance.' Also giving them an opportunity to grow within their organization," said Kentucky Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Derrick Ramsey, who joined local and state officials for Friday's announcement.

Employees in entry-level positions will have the opportunity to work toward a new goal. Ramsey said connecting people with that "second chance" is something the region should always be striving for, which is why the state's Skills U program wanted to be a part of the movement.

"You educate our youth and those that may have fallen on hard times and not had the opportunity to pursue their education," said PMC President and CEO Donovan Blackburn.

He said bridging the gaps between education and opportunity is the best way to grow a strong workforce.

"When you come back and you educate them, then, in essence, a rising tide lifts all ships," he said.

BSCTC President Sherry Zylka said the college is excited to be a part of the hospital's outreach.

"Getting educated and finding jobs in this region, and staying here and not moving away to get them, the opportunity is ripe for the picking," Zylka said.

The GED program includes many partners - PMC, Eastern Kentucky Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), BSCTC, and Skills U- working to help the second chance become a reality for people across the region.

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