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Ballard adults invited to make a 'New Start' with low- or no-cost college, GED classes; meeting is Sept. 19

An informational meeting for any Ballard County adult interested in low- or no-cost college and GED classes is set for Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 5:30 p.m. at Ballard County Career and Technical Center at 11 Vocational School Road, Barlow. Childcare will be provided at Ballard County Elementary School at no cost to those who preregister for the meeting.

Everyone who preregisters will be entered in a drawing for a $50 gas card provided by Ballard County Community Education (winner must be present at the meeting), and Ballard County Family Focus will provide pizza and drinks for meeting attendees.

“It’s our goal to help our neighbors get the education and skills they need for today’s changing workplace,” said Ballard Community Education Director Julie Thomas. “No matter where you stopped before, if you’re ready to make a ‘New Start,’ we’re here to help with every step of the process. Whether it’s getting a GED or a college certification that can lead to a good job, you’ll always have somebody to help you move forward on your journey.”

Along with Family Focus and Community Education, representatives will be at the meeting from Ballard County Adult Education and West Kentucky Community College. Attendees will have the opportunity at the end of the meeting to sign up for assessments, help with financial aid, or GED or college classes, Thomas said.

Ballard Adult Ed Director Chris Hildebrand will talk about his offerings. “Here at the Learning Center, we are focused on helping folks earn their GEDs, Work Ready Certificates and almost anything else an individual might need to find a job or go on to college,” he said. That includes the placement tests that WKCTC will need for math, reading and English benchmarks, and test preparation classes for those who need it, he added.

Jo Ann Knapp, coordinator of WKCTC’s medical information technology program, will talk about the college’s high-demand certifications in the medical field and how to get them. Mollie Bremer, WKCTC’s adult ed coordinator, will talk about the state’s new Work Ready Scholarships for high-demand skills, along with other certificate and degree options available at the college. She’ll also have an admissions checklist that show prospective students exactly what they’ll need to do to enroll.

Thomas said, “We did some surveys in the spring, and medical office classes were the ones that most people showed an interest in. The way we’re structuring New Start is to begin with the first two classes that the larger certification requires. If folks complete just those two classes, they’ll earn a data entry operator certificate, and be almost half-way to a medical receptionist certificate.”

Knapp said New Start would be an easy way for students to earn credentials right away with certificate classes, then move to a diploma if they desire, and even to on to an associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree at MSU’s Paducah campus.

For more information, or to preregister for this meeting, please contact Thomas at 270-665-8400,, or message through Ballard County Schools’ Facebook page. Deadline to preregister is Monday, Sept. 18.