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Maysville Community and Technical College has lost a significant amount of state funding over the last several years and business leaders are stepping up to let legislators know they agree with Governor Matt Bevin that Kentucky can do better. Several local business leaders are serving as Business Champions as part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College Systems (KCTCS) Fuel the Force campaign, which is asking for restoration of postsecondary education funding.

The MCTC Business Champions Council is asking legislators to support the Council on Postsecondary Educations (CPE) budget request that recently was submitted to Governor Bevin. In the request, CPE asks for half of the decrease in state appropriations since 2008 to be restored to the nine public postsecondary education institutions, which includes KCTCS.

Business leaders are concerned about how loss of funding is affecting their ability to hire skilled workers and the effect it has on local economies. Nineteen champions signed on to the MCTC campaign, and members elected Arthur Walker, III, Executive Vice President of The Walker Company to chair the Council. They are part of statewide group of hundreds of business leaders who've become Business Champions.

Other local Business Champions are:

  • Terry Royse with A Raymond Timmerman
  • Laura Aydelotte and Scott Keller with Cooper Standard
  • Garnett Furnish with Cynthiana-Harrison County EDA
  • Lori Ulrich with Fleming-Mason Energy
  • Douglas K Gessford with Gateway Manufacturing, Inc.
  • Michael Parker with Hospice of Hope
  • Shane Wallingford with JSB Industrial Solutions, Inc.
  • Jeremy Brown with Kentucky Bank
  • Jeremy Faulkner with KY Career Center (TENCO WIB)
  • R. Michael Berry with Mason Family Drug
  • Vicki Steigleder with Maysville-Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Robert Parker with Meadowview Regional Medical Center
  • Trinity Cooper with Murray Equipment amp; Machine, Inc.
  • Avi Bear with Oven-Art, Inc.
  • Randy Norwood with Regal
  • Christie Smallwood with Summit Polymers, Inc.
  • Richard Fuller with Traditional Bank
  • Art Walker III with the Walker Company

Community colleges are the engine of Kentuckys workforce and are the states largest providers of workforce education and training, said Mr. Walker. To be a better state, we have to have a well-educated workforce and now is the time to reinvest in Kentuckys higher education.

Even though the recession ended several years ago, Kentucky is one of only a handful of states that has not begun reinvesting in higher education. Additionally, Kentucky is one of only three states in the nation joining Oklahoma and West Virginia that has continued to cut per student funding for higher education each of the last two years.

Were very appreciative of the Business Champions Council and their willingness to tell policy makers how they're being affected by state budget cuts to higher ed and the importance of reinvesting in our college so that Kentucky can become better, said Dr. Stephen Vacik, MCTC President and CEO. These leaders represent the companies we work with regularly and have built relationships with over the years. We are partners in education and job creation for this region.

The Business Champions Council will take part in a business showcase event during the 2016 General Assembly to highlight the careers they offer and how they align with MCTC programs. Additionally, Champions will attend a legislative rally and reception on February 18 in Frankfort. Other outreach efforts include calls, emails, inviting legislators to visit a workplace or other face-to-face meetings.

About Fuel the Force

Fuel the Force is a statewide campaign created to inform elected officials about the dire need of public postsecondary state appropriations for the 2016-2018 biennium. Business Champions from across the Commonwealth will share personal stories with legislators and the governor about the role local colleges play in the community, and how funding cuts have hurt local employers and the local economy. To learn more about the Fuel the Force campaign and sign a petition of support, visit the Fuel the Force website.