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NCS Education apprenticeship announced
A student worker smiles at a pre-schooler painting

An Education Collab student works with students  at the Early Learning Center.


NCS education apprenticeship announced, a model for the state

Gov. Beshear & Commissioner Glass celebrate NCS Apprenticeship Approval

An innovative program designed to serve students better and ease a workforce shortage was unveiled Tuesday that puts Nelson County Schools as a statewide  leader in place-based learning.

The Kentucky Department of Education announced that NCS was awarded state and federal approval for a certified educator apprenticeship program, the first of its kind in Kentucky. The program will offer opportunities for high school students to work toward their education degree starting freshman year, and for some of them a paid apprenticeship months after graduation that puts them in the classroom under the mentorship of local teachers.

“We congratulate Nelson County Schools on winning state and federal approval for an innovative apprenticeship,” Gov. Andy Beshear said while announcing the program. “It is a win for our state as we expand our homegrown pool of teachers and a win for students who continue earning a college degree while being able to start their teaching career two years earlier.”

Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass said the NCS program is leading Kentucky.

“Our country needs to seek new, innovative solutions to solve the teacher shortage and I’m proud to see Kentucky leading the way with the apprenticeship program in Nelson County,” Glass said. “Putting students on the fast track to becoming teachers will bolster our educator workforce and stand as an example for what other states can do to fill their needs.”

NCS has partnered with Western Kentucky University and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College to enable students to start on an education pathway as early as their freshman year. Through the Education Collab, students can complete their core college coursework toward earning their bachelor’s degree through ECTC. They will also be immersed in 2 ½ hours of daily place-based learning. By the time they graduate high school, a student can earn up to 59 hours of college credit and 24 hours toward their teacher certification.

“Our country needs to seek new, innovative solutions to solve the teacher shortage, and I’m proud to see Kentucky leading the way with the apprenticeship program in Nelson County,” Glass said in announcing the program Tuesday.

Completing the course opens two options for the graduate. 

Traditional path

A student who completes the Education Collab pathway and graduates can enroll at WKU for a traditional path toward earning a teaching degree and certification. With the head-start through the collab, a student could graduate college in two years. The majority of students will follow this course.

Apprenticeship path

Some students will have the option to participate in a registered apprenticeship through NCS. Through the apprenticeship program they will be hired by the district and work as a student teacher while enrolled at WKU.

The apprenticeship program was created through the Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) youth apprenticeship model. The need for teachers in the workforce has never been greater, both in Kentucky and nationwide. Education and Labor Cabinet Secretary Jamie Link said this apprenticeship provides a faster pathway for students to enter the workforce and this program at NCS will serve as a model for other states facing similar circumstances..

 “It positions Kentucky as a leader in addressing the critical teacher shortage throughout our country.” Education and Labor Cabinet Secretary Jamie Link

NCS Leaders provide vision, support

This apprenticeship model was made possible by a dedicated group of educators who have worked many hours with the best interest of our students and schools in their hearts. Sarah Durst and Suzan Sanders are leaders in the Education Collab who have the vision to make this program successful. Supporting them at the district level are our directors of next generation learning, Courtney Newton and Teresa Henderson; Karen Lee, director of community centered programs; and Laura Arnold, director of workforce development.

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