Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson is encouraging more Livingston County High School students to pursue higher education.
The statewide program, “Close the Deal” is in its third year and supports high school counselors, business and postsecondary communities in helping students attain further education past high school.
Livingston and three other Kentucky school districts were invited to participate in the program this year.
During yesterday’s luncheon at Livingston Central High School, Abramson said he’d like to see many seniors become first generation college goers, just like him.
“If Kentucky is to compete for 21st century jobs, we must have a highly trained, skilled, educated workforce, and Close the Deal plays a critical role in achieving this goal,” said Abramson. “Expanding Close the Deal at Livingston Central High School will definitely benefit the senior class, helping them know their options after earning their diplomas.”
Livingston Superintendent Darryl Chittenden says the event was aimed at lifting students’ misconceptions about college, especially financial barriers.
“Obviously with finances, if they think they can enter the workforce even with a low-paying job that that’s just more immediate gratification," said Chittenden. "Those types of minimum wage jobs may look really appealing at 17 but they’re not so appealing at age 25 or 30 as they’re trying to support a family.”
Abramson and education officials were on hand at the high school yesterday to help students with admission and financial aid paperwork. But Chittenden says the purpose of the event was to express to them the importance of postsecondary education.
“He [Abramson] asked the audience to raise their hands and asked 'who would be the first college goer in their family'? And there were some hands raised," said Chittenden. "Just stressing the need to them that they needed to be planning on some type of higher education, whether it be a one or two year program or four year program or beyond. Stressing to them that their economic futures hinges on some type of higher education.”
Livingston participated in the program along with Breathitt and Ohio counties school districts and Campbellsville Independent Schools. Through the initiative, school counselors will encourage students to apply to at least one university, college or technical school by graduation.
Chittenden says that even if it wasn’t lieutenant governor-sponsored, he’d like to hold a similar event at Livingston Schools in years to come.