Kentucky State Profile

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE)
Frankfort, KY

Commerce Lex (Local Workforce Investment Board — Fayette County)
Lexington, KY

Kentuckiana Works (Local Workforce Investment Board — Jefferson and Shelby Counties)
Louisville, KY

Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS)
Frankfort, KY

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Frankfort, KY

Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS)
Versailles, KY

Kentucky Department of Education (KYDE)
Frankfort, KY

Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet
Frankfort, KY

Fayette County Public Schools
Lexington, KY

Jefferson County Public Schools
Louisville, KY

Shelby County School District
Shelbyville, KY

Educational and Workforce Landscape

Secondary K–12

Governed by:
Kentucky Department of Education

Public school enrollment K–12:

School Districts: 171

Public school enrollment 9–12:

Graduation rate: 90.1% (2021–22)

CTE Participation rate: 80.5%


Governed by:
KY Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE)

Enrollment/Completion Data:
College Going Rate: 53.8%

Number by Type of Schools

  • 2-year Community and Technical Colleges: 16
  • 4-year Public University: 8
  • 4-year Private University: 18


Workforce Agency:

  • Education & Labor Cabinet
  • Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB)
  • Local Workforce Investment Boards

Top Industries/Jobs:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Business & IT Services
  • Construction & Trades
  • Healthcare & Social Assistance
  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Points of Interest

  • Postsecondary Ready: 72.4%
  • CTE Pathway Enrollments 9-12: 167,510

Increase in 6-Year College Completion Rates
60×30 Statewide Goal (60% of Kentuckians with Degrees or Credentials by 2030)

The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship (WRKS) helps Kentuckians who have not yet earned an associate’s degree obtain an industry-recognized certificate, diploma, or an associate of applied science degree. The WRKS program is available to college students and covers 60 hours of credit.

The Dual Credit Scholarship helps Kentucky high school students pay for dual credit courses that are part of a Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway approved by the Kentucky Department of Education.

The goal of the Kentucky Advising Academy (KAA) is to support Kentucky educators in providing students equitable access to postsecondary advising for a successful transition from their secondary education to their desired career.

The KAA supports educators serving in advising roles by providing

  • Comprehensive professional learning sessions
  • Online resources
  • Networking opportunities centered around postsecondary advising

The Council on Postsecondary Education’s Summer Bridge grant is offered to supplement postsecondary institutions’ efforts in easing the transition to college and supporting postsecondary success by providing students with academic skills and social resources needed to succeed in a college environment. These programs occur in the summer “bridge” period between high school and college. Although the content of summer bridge programs can vary in length and content across institutions, they typically involve orientation to college life and resources; academic advising; Training in skills necessary for college success, such as time management and study skills; and accelerated academic coursework.

Ford and BlueOval SK are building the world’s largest electric vehicle battery plant in Hardin County, Kentucky, which will create more than 5,000 new jobs.

The Kentucky Healthcare Workforce Investment Fund, is a public-private partnership to provide healthcare training scholarships for Kentucky resident students and incentives to reward performance and excellence among healthcare professional programs. The fund, administered by CPE, is designed to improve financial support for students who enroll in targeted programs leading to healthcare credentials in areas demonstrating critical workforce need. The fund rewards performance and excellence among Kentucky healthcare professional education and training programs. Grants are prioritized by geographic areas of Kentucky with the greatest workforce need and will strive to improve racial and ethnic diversity within healthcare fields.

In collaboration with Western Kentucky University, both Nelson County and Grayson County School Districts have implemented Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) youth apprenticeship model in education pathways to address the teacher pipeline shortage. In Nelson County, the model incorporates 2.5 hours daily of place-based and experiential learning students may enter as early as 9th grade. During their four-year high school career, students participate in dual-credit enrollment through Elizabethtown Community and Technical College and WKU to attain 59 hours of college credit, thus meeting post-secondary general education requirements as well as 24 hours toward teacher certification. The paid youth apprenticeship will start in the student’s junior or senior year. Upon graduation, the student apprentices will continue to be a paid employee of Nelson County Schools and enrolled at WKU to complete the remaining 61 hours toward a bachelor’s degree.

Everybody Counts Initiative: Everybody Counts is a dynamic new ​initiative from Team Kentucky that provides a clear pathway to success for qualifying seniors graduating from participating Kentucky school districts. The initiative​ benefits graduating seniors as ​​well as, businesses, ​local communities and Kentucky’s economy

College & Career Pathways Successes

Shared, common goal

Kentucky has long been a national leader in the space of cross-agency career pathway development and related strategies. This has been demonstrated in recent years through the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) national grant initiative, as well as the Credentials of Value Institute (COVI) sponsored by Education Strategy Group (ESG).

Kentucky’s Commonwealth Education Continuum (CEC) is a collaborative statewide convening body comprised of 28 members whose expertise range from early childhood to the workforce. In January 2023, a new workgroup of the CEC began to place intentional focus on career pathway strategies, with the National Pathways Initiative becoming a piece of its priority work.

Kentucky also utilizes KYSTATS, the Commonwealth’s renowned longitudinal data system to research and evaluate the career trends and success of equity strategies.

Work is being done in the area of aligning articulation agreements across public universities as part of Senate Bill 101.

Perkins V regulations require secondary schools to have a four year program of studies that are aligned with a postsecondary institution for all pathways receiving Perkins funding.

Goals and Priorities for Launch

CPE. Higher Education MattersAlthough Kentucky has demonstrated historical success in building strong career pathway systems, data still suggests that career pathway coursework and experiential learning opportunities at both the secondary and postsecondary level may not reach many of the students who could benefit from them the most. Closer collaboration among high schools and postsecondary institutions is needed to better advise students who are unaware of the accelerated benefits of career pathways. Specifically, barriers that need close attention are those related to early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs), college and career advising supports (both to and through postsecondary), and the strategies for incentivizing the completion of high-demand certifications, credentials, and degrees.

Ultimately, the Kentucky team hopes to address inequities that exist in the access to and completion of high-quality, in-demand career pathways for all student populations, which support the Commonwealth’s 60×30 Postsecondary Attainment Goal.

Local District Profiles

Jefferson County Public Schools


Urbanacity (enrollment, geography, demographics):

166 schools / 93,658 students

Defining characteristics/points of interest:

  • State’s Largest Public School District
  • Academies of Louisville / 73 Career Pathways
  • Backpack of Success Skills Initiative
  • Equity-Driven Funding Formulas
  • Local Laboratory of Learning (L3) District

Through Career and Technical Education, our students are given the tools to better themselves, their families, and their communities. Each opportunity we provide for a student to enroll in a CTE course, participate in work-based learning, or earn an industry credential is an opportunity for the advancement of Jefferson County and the state of Kentucky.

Beau Johnston,
Director of Career and Technical Education

Fayette County Public Schools

Fayette County Public Schools

Urbanacity (enrollment, geography, demographics):

73 schools / 40,726 students

Defining characteristics/points of interest:

  • State’s 2nd Largest Public School District
  • 49 Career Pathways
  • 6 High Schools (3 Academies) / 3 Local CTE Centers
  • Portrait of a Graduate

Every student’s journey is unique, and our CTE programs recognize and celebrate that individuality. We’re dedicated to nurturing the strengths and interests of each student, guiding them towards career paths that resonate with their aspirations. Our students’ triumphs are our community’s triumphs. We celebrate when they graduate with a clear sense of purpose, knowing that our intentional partnerships and work-based learning opportunities are working to improve our community.

Amanda Wickersham,
Fayette County Public Schools Director of Career and Technical Education

Shelby County Public Schools

Urbanacity (enrollment, geography, demographics):

13 schools / 6,665 students

Defining characteristics/points of interest:

  • 17th Largest Public School District
  • 25 Career Pathways
  • 2 high schools / 1 Area Technology Center (ATC)
  • Local Laboratory of Learning (L3) District
  • Community-Driven Profile of a Graduate

Career and Technical Education means a world of endless opportunities to me. As every inch of work and dedication I put in, I receive back in the form of experience. With each convention and seminar I attend, I enhance my leadership skills which will further prepare me for the real world.

Gaby Cantha,
Senior, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY,
Kentucky State Officer, FCCLA

Reference Links and More Information

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