Oct. 24, 2012 — Morehead State University joined Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and local officials, educators and the business community Monday, Oct. 23, to launch a state pilot program challenging Lawrence County High School seniors to pursue additional education after they graduate.
The Close the Deal initiative creates a college-going culture for high schools students those including who aren’t yet considering higher education. The program supports high school counselors and engages the business and postsecondary communities in helping all students attain further education past high school.
“We started Close the Deal when I was mayor of Louisville because we realized that many talented students who would earn a high school diploma had no idea what to do next. Since then, more than 5,400 students have learned how to continue their education thanks to the program, and it’s still going strong in Louisville,” said Lt. Gov. Abramson. “Now we are partnering with Commissioner Terry Holliday and launching the initiative at Lawrence County High school to engage even more high school seniors.”
Lt. Gov. Abramson said like him, many of these students will be first generation college-goers.
At Monday’s Close Deal launch, seniors met with college representatives regarding how to apply for admission and financial aid, while local business leaders outlined the skills needed for current and future opportunities.
A total of 136 Lawrence County High School seniors had a chance to meet with MSU officials.
“This is another great opportunity for MSU to partner with the Lawrence County School System,” said Jeffrey Liles, assistant vice president for enrollment services. “They invite us (MSU) here often to come to the classrooms and meet with their students. We get to provide them information and the opportunities that MSU has to offer.”
The successful launch of Close the Deal at Lawrence County High School is due to the partnership between state and local officials, educators and business leaders who want seniors to pursue higher education, “whether through community college for a certificate or a two-year associate degree, or a traditional four-year university,” Lt. Gov. Abramson said.
“This is a great opportunity for our seniors to gain immediate access to a wide variety of professionals – all working cooperatively to help our students make informed decisions about life after school,” said Mike Armstrong, superintendent of Lawrence County Schools. “This truly is another vital piece to help all of our seniors be college and career ready.”
“I believe in the students of Lawrence County High School,” said Lawrence County High School Principal Lonnie Cook. “The involvement of Lt. Gov. Abramson, Commissioner Holliday, as well as the Kentucky Department of Education in our Close the Deal celebration, further demonstrates the commitment that not only our students have from them, but students across the state of Kentucky.”
‘The business community has long seen the need for an educated workforce in eastern Kentucky and we are thrilled to be a partner in this project,” said Jared Arnett, president/CEO of the Southeast Kentucky Chamber. “Years ago the chamber began raising money for our Education Endowment Fund and felt this project was perfectly suited for its cause. We believe our ability to diversify our economy in eastern Kentucky rests on the availability of a skilled workforce. This project will have a direct impact on that factor.”
Officials at Lawrence County High School will continue to work with seniors throughout the school year, further educating them on the need for additional education upon graduation. Through Close the Deal, counselors will encourage students to apply to at least one college or university.
“This was a great opportunity for MSU to partner with Lawrence County High School, KDE, lieutenant governor’s office and the business community to emphasize the importance of college and career readiness and making a plan for life after high school,” said Dr. Daryl Privott, program director Kentucky College and Career Readiness Collaborative Initiative.
In taking Close the Deal statewide, Lt. Gov. Abramson formed a partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education to add the program to the department’s “Operation Preparation” initiative.
Operation Preparation was launched in March and combines the efforts of the Department of Education and the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet to discuss life after high school with students.
“Close the Deal complements Operation Preparation’s mission, which is to encourage partnerships between communities and their schools to ensure that students are ready for college and careers,” said Holliday. “Close the Deal provides students with the information and tools they will need to explore higher education options, raising their comfort levels and knowledge as they prepare for life after high school.”
Rep. Rocky Adkins and Sen. Walter Blevins, MSU alums, were among the elected officials on hand for the event.
Lt. Gov. Abramson helped launch the program at Campbell County High School and Bullitt Central High School earlier this month. Abramson said he is hopeful that additional high schools will join the program in the coming years.