BCTC will Benefit Directly from a New Partnership with the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence

At a press conference held on October 16, representatives from Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV) announced a new collaboration to provide economic empowerment services and support to low-income parents.

This project will strengthen the relationship between KCTCS colleges and the states 15 domestic violence programs to ensure low-income, resource-challenged students get the services they need, said KCTCS President Michael B. McCall.

The partnership enables KCADV to expand its nationally recognized Economic Empowerment Project to serve KCTCS students in the Ready to Work/Work and Learn (RTW/Wamp;L) programs. The statewide RTW/Wamp;L programs are contracted and funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and are designed to assist and support low-income parents who attend KCTCS colleges.

Coordinators prepare participants for the real world by providing everyday life skills in addition to counseling, advocacy and mentoring, and community resource referrals.

This is such a great opportunity for our Ready to Work (RTW) students. The students will receive financial education, credit reports and individual financial coaching, said Ellen Biddle, BCTC Ready to Work Coordinator. According to Biddle, Some RTW students will be able to open Individual Development Accounts, or IDAs, which are special accounts in which students savings are matched 4 to 1. Students who save $1,000 will receive $4,000 in matching funds and have $5,000 to pay for college tuition and educational expenses.

Biddle said students will also be able to apply for no-interest microloans and emergency assistance, as well as use funds to buy a desktop computer or laptop. This will help our RTW students to complete their degrees and not be in such student debt, said Biddle.

In addition to non-academic obstacles like finances and family obligations, domestic violence is another reason individuals leave college and dont complete their degree. In fact, about half of the students participating in this project have identified themselves as domestic violence survivors.

The project is being funded through grants from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the FINRA Foundation, along with a $300,000 matching grant from KCTCS and its colleges. For more information about KCADV, please go to: www.kdva.org.