Kentucky's first regional career academy is scheduled to begin offering classes to 25 to 30 students this fall. The students will come from the five north central counties of Carrol, Gallatin, Henry, Owen, and Trimble.
The ILEAD Academy will be located in Carrolton. Carrol County School Superintendent Bill Hogan says upon finishing the program, some students may opt out of a post-secondary education. "It could be kids that want to go to four year engineering schools, so they'll get a jump start,” said Hogan. “But there could be kids that we target that may not have went that way and they could go on and get their associates from JCTC and walk into a $70,000 a year job at a local industry."
One of the program's goals is to help fulfill the need for workers in Kentucky's manufacturing sector. Greg Higdon with the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers calls the program a groundbreaking endeavor. "You know, I congratulated those superintendents for the courage and leadership they're showing,” said Higdon. “They obviously trust their constituency to see that something will be delivered."
Over a four year period, some 120 students will participate in the ILEAD Academy. The state is supporting the initiative with$250,000 and participating school districts are also providing monetary support.