Educators, lawmakers and other dignitaries from around the state gathered recently at Frankfort High School auditorium for the announcement of an Early College partnership between Kentucky State University and Frankfort Independent Schools.

The initiative is designed to provide high school students with the opportunity to earn college credit and secondary school credit. Students can accumulate enough credits to earn a technical certificate or an associate degree from Kentucky State.

“My goal is for as many students as possible to receive not just a high school diploma but also a technical certificate or academic credit to transfer to an institution of higher learning,” Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II said. “If you want to go on to college, we can make sure that you already have 30 credits that you’ve banked and pocketed.”

Pathways for students will include STEM, agriculture, health sciences, teaching and learning and computer science.

Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner said that statistics show that a high school diploma is not enough for most people to build the life they desire.

“This is a momentous occasion,” Heiner said. “I applaud this historic and important day. We pledge to do whatever we can to eliminate any obstacles in the way.”

“This is an open door,” Frankfort Independent Schools Superintendent Dr. Houston Barber said. “We want you to go through that door and grab every opportunity possible.”

Frankfort City Commissioner Scott Tippett also spoke, pledging his support and help to promote the program. He emphasized the importance of high school students leaving prepared for the workforce or a college career.

Frankfort High School Principal John Lyons said his goal was for every single student to earn both a high school diploma and a degree or certificate.

“Our goal is for our high school to have greater expectations of you that we’ve never had before,” Lyons said.

Also supporting the initiative was State Representative Derrick Graham, members of the Frankfort Independent Schools board members, Kentucky State University faculty, staff and administration, Frankfort High School students and members representing the City of Frankfort.