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Southeast Kentucky Community Technical College ranked in top 10 percent in nation

In its first step to identify the nations best community college and award $1 million in prize money, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has ranked Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College as one of the nations 120 best community colleges, challenging it to compete for the prize funds (to be announced in December 2011) by insisting on high standards for learning, college completion without delay and serving as a training ground for jobs that pay competitive wages.

Citing the urgent need to focus on the value and potential of community colleges, Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director Josh Wyner said, We set the bar much higher than we have in the past. To achieve excellent student outcomes, we need to highlight our countrys success stories and learn from them so that we can keep reaching higher.

Recognizing community colleges like Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College sends a message to others that aspire to excellence, while encouraging SKCTC to apply for the nations top community college prize. As a country, now more than ever, we need all community colleges to graduate more students with the knowledge and degrees they need to be successful in the workforce.

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice-President Joe Biden, and Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, attended recently the Aspen Institutes announcement. The Aspen Prize was announced at the White House Community College Summit hosted by President Obama and Dr. Biden last October. At that time, the President noted how critical community colleges are to the millions of youth and adult learnerswho enroll in Americas nearly 1,200 community colleges each year.

Dr. Biden, a lifelong educator who continues to teach English at Northern Virginia Community College, noted that The country is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of community colleges in educating our way to a stronger America. I am inspired by all of todays community college students;--the workers who have returned to school to improve their job prospects, the mothers who juggle jobs and childcare while preparing for new careers, and those who work diligently while at community colleges, preparing to transfer to a four-year institution.

Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College and 119 other community colleges will be winnowed to eight to ten finalists in September based on how much students learn, how many complete their programs on time, and how well students do in the job market after graduating.

Dr. W. Bruce Ayers, president of Southeast, said that being recognized as one of the nations best was a great tribute to the colleges faculty and staff. This recognition speaks to their dedication, commitment and success, he said.

Southeast was joined by seven other colleges from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System who will now compete for the Aspen Prize. They include: Ashland, Big Sandy, Madisonville, Maysville, Somerset and West Kentucky.

All 120 colleges that were selected are now eligible to submit an application containing additional information on criteria previously outlined by the committee. SKCTC must demonstrate that it delivers exceptional student results, uses data to drive decisions and uses that information to continually improve over time.

The Aspen Institute will conduct site visits to each of the ten finalists in the fall. And, based on the evidence, the prize jury will select a grand prize winner and two to three runners-up to be announced in December.