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Students from South Floyd, Allen Central, Prestonsburg and Magoffin County high schools participated in the two-day camp on April 22 and April 27 on the Mayo and Prestonsburg campuses of Big Sandy Community and Technical College.  The camp was a collaboration between BSCTC Workforce Solutions, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office of the Blind.  Shown are: Seth Hall, Blake Slone, Lisa Hunt, Haleigh Hunt, Emily Spencer, Blake Terry, Amber Stumbo, Teresa Osborne and Quintin Cole, a teacher from Magoffin County High School. Big Sandy Community and Technical Colleges (BSCTC) Workforce Solutions division partnered with the Kentucky Office of the Blind to host a pre-employment transition camp called Next Step highlighting careers in visual communications and allied health. Students from South Floyd, Allen Central, Prestonsburg and Magoffin County high schools participated in the two-day camp on April 22 and April 27.

K. Mike Hall, vocational rehabilitation counselor with the Kentucky Office for the Blind, stated the purpose of the camp is to allow BSCTC College and Kentucky Office for the blind to work with students age 14 to high school seniors to help transition more students to a post-secondary training such as college, tech school or gain fulltime employment. The camp allows them to explore multiple career tracks through hands-on activities in that career. Hall also stated that new research has shown that the sooner students are exposed to career and work in their home communities, the better the chance to improve their abilities to obtain further advanced training and employment after high school.

According to the Labor Market, our region in East Kentucky depends on four main employment groupings: Healthcare, Information Technology and Manufacturing. Local officials have focused on the first two groups and plan to explore the others with future camps at BSCTC.

During the April 22 camp, students were able to tour the visual communications program lab on the Mayo Campus. They were also able to explore programs and opportunities using the Adobe programs on their respective laptops.

Lori Lewis, professor of visual communications, allowed students to utilize the state-of-the-art equipment in the lab by allowing students to print t-shirts, tote bags and mouse pads.

Graduate school student Cody Charles, a former student at BSCTC who helped with disability and support services at the college, provided mentorship to graduate students participating in the camp.

Kimberly Thompson, a representative from the Social Security Administration, attended an awards luncheon and talked to the students and parents about resources available to them while working in the employment market while receiving disability benefits.

On April 29, students explored careers in allied health and were provided CPR training and received certification of completion. Melissa Perry, with the Southeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center, led students through trainings on how to take vital signs. They extracted blood from a mannequin and learned about careers in phlebotomy.

I want to thank the Kentucky Office for the Blind and the Southeast KY Area Health Education Center for their collaboration in this project, said Kelli Hall, interim dean of career education and workforce development at BSCTC. I especially want to thank Lori Lewis and Charles Moore for taking time out of their busy schedules to provide training to these students.

For more information on Workforce Solutions community outreach programs, contact Sally Porter at (606) 218-1276 or email