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Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), has been appointed to the Commission on Leadership and Professional Development at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

I am honored and humbled to receive this appointment, said Dr. Stephenson. Community Colleges are the cornerstone of true community, workforce and economic development.

BSCTC serves Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin and Pike counties in eastern Kentucky. The college, which has four campuses (Prestonsburg, Pikeville, Mayo and Hager Hill) has more than a $230 million impact on the region. Since 2008, BSCTC has served more than 21,000 first-generation college students.

We are on the cusp of a remarkable transformation in eastern Kentucky, Dr. Stephenson added. Through the efforts of SOAR (Shaping our Appalachian Region), One East Kentucky and our chamber partners, we are working collaboratively and blurring county lines with a unified message of regional community and economic development.

One of those developments include a world-class Fiber Optics training program. The Fiber Optics Association-sanctioned course provides three certificate options and can lead to an associate degree.

With the construction of the Kentucky I-Way, our region will stand on the right side of the digital divide, said Dr. Stephenson. World-class connectivity will open our region to new and exciting opportunities for community and economic development.

Walter G. Bumphus, Ph.D., president and CEO of the AACC, wrote in a letter to Dr. Stephenson, We are sure that your insights and leadership will significantly contribute to the Boards decision-making process and its ability to serve the interests of all AACC member institutions.