EKCEP Program and Participants Recognized with Statewide Awards

Gov. Paul Patton and the Kentucky Cabinet for Workforce Development recently presented awards for excellence to one EKCEP program and two former participants in EKCEP programs. The awards were presented on October 25 at the 2001 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Awards Luncheon in Frankfort.

Wanda Colegrove of Lovely and Clara Collins of Inez, both former participants in EKCEP’s Dislocated Worker Program, were honored as Outstanding WIA Alumni. The award, given to only five alumni statewide, recognizes the participants’ exemplary academic and employment achievements. EKCEP’s WIA Youth Program for Bell County—administered locally by Bell-Whitley CAA—tied for honors as the state’s Outstanding WIA Program.

Overall, three of the eight statewide awards presented by the cabinet went to EKCEP programs and participants.

“We felt that EKCEP was well represented,” said Mable Duke, executive director of EKCEP. “We are gratified that the state has recognized the quality of EKCEP’s programs and the achievements of our participants. The two ladies who received awards are representative of the many, many eastern Kentuckians who work hard and achieve success with the aid of EKCEP’s WIA programs.”

Wanda Colegrove—Outstanding WIA Alumnus: After losing her job driving a rock truck, Wanda went back to school to become a certified medical lab technician assistant with the help of the EKCEP dislocated worker program. Shortly after completing her first semester at Southern West Virginia Community College, she suffered a heart attack and underwent double-bypass surgery. Wanda missed a semester, but returned to school the next spring. Health problems struck again during the ensuing semesters, as Wanda’s sister and then her husband were diagnosed with cancer. While caring for both, Wanda continued to excel at her studies. With the support of WIA, Wanda completed the certificate program with a perfect 4.0 GPA and was named valedictorian of her class.

Clara Collins—Outstanding WIA Alumnus: After she was laid off from her bookkeeping job, Clara enrolled in the Registered Nursing program at Prestonsburg Community College with the help of EKCEP’s dislocated worker program. Balancing school work with her responsibilities as a mother of two, Clara consistently made the dean’s list and won awards for academic achievement in each of her four semesters. Within a month of earning her Associate Degree, Clara was hired by the Highlands Medical Center in Prestonsburg. Today, she works in the hospital’s Medical Surgical Unit.

Bell-Whitley Year-Round Youth—Outstanding Program: The Bell-Whitley CAA’s exemplary Youth Program served 150 young people in the 2000 program year. In addition to providing the full array of services required under WIA, the Bell-Whitley program provided a wide variety summer work experience opportunities in many traditional job sites, including city and county government offices, public facilities, service agencies, schools, health care facilities, and many retail businesses. The program also garnered statewide attention by offering several young people the unique work experience opportunity of painting a two-story local culture mural on the side of the Bell-Whitley building. The mural shows several of the best aspects of life in Bell County in vignettes which blend into each other across an imaginary landscape.