Southeast puts a focus on those in recovery

Published 4:14 pm Monday, August 19, 2019

Dr. Vic Adams, president of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, spoke to a record number of attendants to the regular monthly meeting of Bell County Unite on Friday. The meeting was at Sagebrush at noon and only moments before Dr. Adams was introduced, the electricity went out across all of Middlesboro. The loss of electricity did not stop Dr. Adams from explaining to the group what Southeast is doing to help those who are in recovery throughout the region.

As Adams stood before the group he explained that this was the first Operation Unite meeting he had attended.

“I became president at Southeast a little over two years ago and one of the things I wanted to emphasize to all of our faculty, staff and leadership is the fact that everything we do, we are going to put our students first.”

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Adams added that beyond the passion for putting his students first, he has a passion for those people that are in recovery.

“Being born and raised in Middlesboro, I’ve spent my life here, except for the few short years while I was away at college,” he explained. “Folks in recovery need our help. If they don’t have some sort of education or skill set when they exit a facility or get into recovery, then they’re going to end up in the same shape as what they started in.”

According to Adams, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in state and federal grants, not all those specifically geared toward students in recovery, but the programs can be used to eventually equip those students who are in recovery.

“We’ve been very active in grants that have been able to assist us in this in the last two or little over two years,” he said. “We’ve done several things to try to help and target those in recovery and to help them and make the transition out of a facility and into college or even give them some educational opportunities while they are in a facility.”

He explained that one of the grants they received is the Pace Grant.

“It’s basically providing accelerating career opportunities and is geared toward people in recovery,” he continued. “There are five areas that are really focused on and those include advanced manufacturing, construction, business and IT, transportation, and allied health and that’s the five business sectors that we are working in.”

He said they have they transfer programs and that they have several students in the program.

“We can insert students that are in recovery into any of those five sector programming or if they choose to go into a transfer program, that is fine too,” Adams explained. “The Pace programming is geared toward fast track, accelerated program is going to get them a certificate and quickly into the job or into the work force.”

The fast track certificate is a stackable credential and does allow the students to come back and continue their education.

“Some folks are starting out at $20 to $22 an hour with a certificate that we can get them in 12 to 16 weeks, and then they can be out earning money,” Adams explained.

The coordinator of the program has been out recruiting and recruits throughout Bell County as well.

“We’ve already recruited and have 39 people enrolled in the Pace Program that are all in recovery,” Adams said. “We feel that it is a good start considering we just got the grant and started registration a couple of weeks ago. Our coordinator has been really aggressive in recruitment and going to meetings and recruiting students and getting them into this program. We knew that we had to be aggressive in order to find them.”

Adams said that people in recovery should be proud to be in recovery and that he wants them all to feel comfortable coming to their facilities and getting an education.

In Harlan County on their Cumberland Campus, SKCTC has received a $750,000 grant geared toward people in recovery for a program that will be for industrial maintenance and advanced manufacturing.

“It’s mostly encompasses a broad area focused on welding, HVAC, electricity, electronics, hydraulics, and it is available through a fast track certificate at our Cumberland Campus,” Adams said. “We have plans and have submitted a $9 million plan to turn the old Cumberland High School into a 100-bed male in-patient facility that we would partner with a provider to provide the recovery component.”

“I have told our staff and faculty, if we aren’t putting the student first, I want to be called out on it and that’s what we’ve been doing the last two and a half years,” he said. “I’m very passionate about our students.”

Adams wanted to remind everyone that registration for classes is extended through this Friday for the 16-week class sessions. There are also eight- and 12-week class sessions.

To find out more about Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, you can visit their website at or by calling them at 606-589-2145.