To: Editor, The Louisville Courier Journal
Date: March 10, 2021
The leaders of Kentucky’s public community colleges raised an important and timely issue (“Will you be ready to go to work…” CJ, 3.8.2021) regarding the resources and support necessary to put Kentuckians back to work as the restrictions from the pandemic abate. The gap between available occupational, technical, and professional career opportunities and the workforce-ready talent to meet them has grown, not shrunk, in the last year. Lifting restrictions and opening in-person enterprises will unleash a tidal wave of pent-up demand that generates economic activity and wealth. The question is, who will benefit from that economic turbo-charge and for how long?
The emphasis on institutional diversity, equity and inclusion appropriately sets expectations that demand much more than status quo. Specifically, the DEI post-pandemic economy should benefit minority and low-income populations, and in a manner that is sustainable and long-term. The post-pandemic workforce and small business community in Louisville must reflect and support economic success and personal achievement by minorities, low-income individuals, immigrants, and those displaced by poor health, military service, and other social circumstances. Principles of diversity and inclusion are paramount.
Include Kentucky-based career colleges in the mix of institutions that are helping individuals re-train, re-skill and re-tool for employment and entrepreneurship post-pandemic. The Louisville Beauty Academy (www.louisvillebeautyacademy.net) and the Louisville Institute of Technology (www.louisvilleit.org) excel at providing on-time, immersive and true work-ready programs that prepare graduates for employment on day one. Completers at LBA immediately go to work for nail and beauty salons because the training specifically ensures their success in earning Kentucky licensure. Likewise, successful apprentices at LIT can attain the Full-Stack Programmer “I Have Done It” certificate in three months. Employers in financial, healthcare, logistics and manufacturing are eager to put those IT professionals to work immediately, solving enterprise system deficiencies and delivering end-to-end interoperability that includes text-driven end user applications.
LIT and LBA programs are extremely specific to the workforce. They are typically shorter and more intense than programs offered at other institutions because they recognize the importance of timely completion and employment. They are highly hands-on, emphasizing practical real-time instruction. The programs are highly affordable and accessible in-person, on-line or in combination.
Community college leaders acknowledged that job-seekers post-pandemic are “most likely to enroll in a nondegree program or seek skills training.” That phenomenon is driven by the economic and entrepreneurial opportunities right around the corner. LBA and LIT are ideal complements to public post-secondary education. The diversity and inclusion principles apply to the academies’ ownership, staff, and student populations. It should also apply to the institutional diversity that is supported in our community to achieve the DEI economic boom that is so necessary.
Di Tran, CEO – Louisville Beauty Academy/Louisville Institute of Technology