Louisville agency out of money for tuition scholarships

By Jon Chrisos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Job seekers aren't alone in their struggle. Those trying to help unemployed workers in Kentuckiana have a fight of their own. For the first time in more than a decade, a local agency is out of money to help send laid off workers back to school.

"Unfortunately with the recession they had to cut back and so my job was eliminated," Kimberly Kappesser said. Her story is like so many others across Kentuckiana and the country. She was laid off during these tough economic times.

But her story is also one of success for herself and KentuckianaWorks. She turned to the local workforce development agency for help. She was eligible for the training program that uses state and federal dollars to pay for tuition. Scholarships are for up to $4,000 a year plus money for books and fees. Kappesser went to school to finish her degree.

"One of our bread and butter things is to help a laid off worker who wants to raise their skills go back to school or a low wage adult out of work do the same thing," Michael Gritton, KentuckianaWorks, Executive Director told us. After enrolling more than 550 students last year, now all that bread and butter has been used up for the first time in 12 years. "All the money we have is already pledged to people that started last year, and we don't have any more money to pay for those tuitions. It's a great tragedy for those people," Gritton said.

KentuckianaWorks officials should find out within the next few months if they're going to get emergency federal funding to keep sending students to local campuses. If not, the soonest they'll be able to do that is next summer. A third of the state work force boards have also had to suspend tuition scholarships for people out of work.

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