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The harsh reality of a layoff oftentimes leads workers to seek retraining for a new career.

At Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), the Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky (AOKY) program provides a comprehensive fast-track for students to retrain, retool and go to work.

The program, a partnership between BSCTC, Kentucky Adult Education and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, provides technical training and basic education simultaneously to lead to one of four credentials in just one semester.

Our program is unique in its approach, said James Chafin, project coordinator of AOKY at BSCTC. We not only blend technical and basic education, but also add a comprehensive approach to career services and counseling.

Students can choose one of five tracks: welding, computer information technology (CIT), electricity, industrial maintenance and allied health. Students in the allied health program earn a certified nursing assistant credential, while those in the CIT program earn Microsoft A+ certification.

There are two exit points for students. They can either exit to enter the workforce or work further to pursue a degree.

Chafin said that some students are reluctant to come back to school but find it rewarding once they start.

I think this is often the gentle nudge [our students] need to encourage them that college may indeed be a good fit, he said.

Students have access to a career and success coach throughout the program. This individual works on employability skills and assists students in overcoming any barriers to success.

It is indeed a personalized approach, said Chafin.

For more information about AOKY, contact James Chafin at (606) 788-2845 or email