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Southeast is proud to announce the new Funeral Service program to be offered this fall

Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College will soon begin accepting students into its Funeral Service Program, the only program of its kind offered within the state. A press conference to announce the official startup of the curriculum will be held Thursday, April 19 at 11 a.m. in the Edsel Godbey Appalachian Center on the Cumberland campus.

The program, according to Denise Shumate, the programs coordinator, will lead to the Associate in Applied Science Degree and is a two-year program with students achieving 63-66 total hours. The program will begin in earnest in August with a class of 20 students utilizing facilities in Cumberland.

Upon completion of the degree, graduates will hold licensure as funeral directors and embalmers and will be prepared to sit for the state and national board exams.
The program, as offered by SKCTC, will be the only one in Kentucky. The program has been in the creative process for several years and recently received the go ahead from the Kentucky Council of Public Education and from the Kentucky Community amp; Technical College System.

There is a growing need for those to work within the field and jobs are expected to grow by 12 percent over the next five years, said Shumate, a longtime SKCTC faculty member and administrator, who is also a graduate of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. A licensed funeral director and embalmer, she is owner of a funeral home in Middlesboro.

She noted the curriculum for the Funeral Service Program will be taught two days each week, with classes slated to begin at noon on Monday and conclude Tuesday evening. The schedule has been designed to aid those who hold jobs and who will be travelling to Cumberland from across the state and from the region. Shumate disclosed that the closest funeral service program is offered at New Albany, Ind., across the Ohio River from Louisville and in Cincinnati. We wanted to bring a program to our people in southeastern Kentucky and feel it will be successful. It will prepare many for careers, allowing them to make a good wage while providing a collection of professionals who will deliver much-needed assistance to families during their darkest hour.

Those accepted into the program will be required to complete various general education courses before actual studies within the Funeral Services Program begin. Additionally, some five to six classes will be taught online during the course of the two-year program.

Harlan resident Deron Major, who hopes to be a member of the first class, said he was excited the Funeral Service Program would be offered in the area. The interaction of science and business is interesting, he said. I enjoy helping people and will be able to help families of the deceased during their most vulnerable time.

Ms. Shumate said those who are accepted into the program and complete the challenges will be well equipped to deal with conflict -- working within a field that is growing and is challenging. Kentucky has nearly 500 funeral homes, she said.

Various pre-admissions conferences, mandatory for those who wish to apply, are to be held over the next few weeks.

Upcoming conferences will be held April 16 at 5 p.m. at the SKCTC Middlesboro campus, room 215 of the Science and Technology Building; April 23, 5 p.m. at the Harlan campus, room 129 of building one; April 30, 5 p.m. at the Cumberland campus, room 102 Newman Hall; May 10, 5 p.m., Middlesboro Campus, Science and Technology Building, room 215; May 22, 5 p.m.; Whitesburg campus, Belinda Mason Building, auditorium; May 31, 5 p.m., Pineville campus, room 124.

For further information about the Funeral Service Program at Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College, phone 606/589-3141 or 606/589-3038.