Big Sandy Community and Technical College President Dr. Devin Stephenson shows off his monthly community newsletter during the Paintsville Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday, August 18.  If you would like to be included in our distribution list, please contact Joshua Ball, director of college relations, by email at Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), was the keynote speaker at the Paintsville Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday, August 18 at the Ramada Inn Conference Center.

Its an exciting time in higher education in eastern Kentucky, said Dr. Stephenson. With the challenges we face as a region, come great opportunities.

He mentioned BSCTCs strong enrollment, specifically in technical programs offered on the Mayo campus.

Our goal is to work to make sure our programs are relevant and lead to a family sustaining wage for our graduates, said Dr. Stephenson. He highlighted two specific programs on the Mayo campus licensed practical nursing (LPN) and Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC). All 15 of our LPNs passed their NC-LEX tests and are employed. Our HVAC program had 18 graduates. All are gainfully employed and graduated with a journeyman certification.

Dr. Stephenson encouraged the Rotary club to continue their work in the community and serve as ambassadors for Big Sandy Community and Technical College.

We need your support, just as this community needs your service, he said. You are the backbone of this community, and I appreciate the work you do.

Dr. Stephenson mentioned the colleges close alignment to Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) and One East Kentucky, a privately funded, non-profit organization and partnership of local governments, chambers of commerce, industrial authorities, area development districts and private industry located on the Prestonsburg campus.

For us to overcome the challenges we face, our college must be responsive and flexible to what is ahead, he said. Dr. Stephenson mentioned BSCTC started its Fiber Optic training program last week. These students, who come from all walks of life unemployed, laid off miners and the underemployed, left with an industry-endorsed credential that will allow them to work in installing dark fiber across our region.

The certification courses are part of an expansive stackable credential program that can lead to an associate degree at BSCTC. The college and the University of Pikeville (UPIKE) are discussing ways to provide a seamless transfer to a baccalaureate degree in telecommunications.