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Whitfield Issues Statement Praising West Kentucky Community and Technical College

Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., has issued a statement that was published in the Congressional Record on May 15 praising the West Kentucky Community and Technical College. The congressman is addressing the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) on recently being named one of the top three community colleges in America by the Aspen Institute.

Selected from 1,123 community colleges nationwide, this marks the second time WKCTC has been chosen as Finalist-with-Distinction in addition to having been ranked as a top ten finalist every year the Aspen Prize has been awarded since its launch in 2011.

Created by the Aspen Institute, The Aspen Prize is the nation's preeminent recognition of high achievement and performance in America's community colleges and is awarded every two years. The prize recognizes institutions for outstanding outcomes in four areas: student learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

WKCTC students graduate and transfer at rates that exceed the national average by eight percent and asserts no gap in graduation rates between minorities and other students--a rare occurrence in most of the nation's colleges and universities. Working to draw first-generation students into college, WKCTC faculty and staff consistently track student learning and completion outcomes and use this data to improve teaching and guidance practices. These efforts have resulted in an increase in student retention and degree completion, and place them among the very best in graduating students who are prepared for meaningful employment and/or success after transferring to a four-year institution.

WKCTC has been a primary player in efforts to expand economic growth, from a high-tech industrialized training facility for area companies to adding programs in anticipated growth areas, including marine technology, logistics and operations management.

Community colleges today enroll more than 40 percent of all U.S. undergraduates--seven million students--working toward degrees and certificates. While fewer than half of all community college students graduate nationwide, Aspen Prize finalist institutions demonstrate community colleges can help students achieve higher levels of success while in college and after they graduate.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College, located in Paducah, Kentucky, stands among these leading institutions and I am pleased to see its success once again being acknowledged.