ALLAIS — Students with the first annual Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC) Career Craze Camp ended their summer session with a bit of a pep talk from one of the state’s top political leaders.
Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson attended the closing ceremony for the camp Thursday afternoon at HCTC’s technical campus after receiving a tour of the main campus from HCTC President and CEO Dr. Stephen Greiner.
“I hope you realize, especially the parents that are here, how important today this is for your young people,” Abramson addressed the crowd of students, parents, and camp staff.
The Career Craze Camp, offered through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), was started this year to give middle and high school students ages 12-15 the opportunity to do more with their summer than sleep in and play video games. The camps center around whatever the most successful program is at each technical college campus and which program employs the most people in the area.
Abramson said the reason the Career Craze was initiated in the state was to show students that furthering their education is not just a goal to strive for, but a necessity in today’s competitive job market.
“It’s very simple. We don’t want you to set your goals for a high school degree because that doesn’t get it anymore,” Abramson said. “Having a high school degree and thinking that you have finished your education is not going to give you the chance to be able to do the things you want to do when you become adults.”
Abramson, a former mayor of Louisville, said he has had much experience with businesses all around the state, even before he was elected for his current position, and said he knows what employers are looking for.
“I work with a lot of businesses around this state, and you know what they say to me in terms of the future of their company? They don’t say I need lower taxes to grow, they don’t say I need financial incentives to grow, they say to me I need to be assured that I’m looking at an educated, skilled, productive workforce five years from now and 10 years from now if I’m going to stay in my business,” he said.
Abramson punctuated his speech with the need for students to receive at least a two-year degree or some kind of technical training or a four-year degree — all of which are offered at HCTC through programs at the campus and through the University Center of the Mountains which partners with four-year universities in the region — in a field that is needed in this region.
And, Abramson said, there’s never an excuse for a student not to further their education by attending college.
“Never say you can’t afford it. The lower your income the better your ability to get financial aid,” he said. “This is something you have to do to get out there.”