After tens of thousands of Kentuckians were put out of work amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System is partnering with rapper Buffalo B. Stille of the Grammy-nominated Nappy Roots to promote the state’s Work Ready Scholarship.
“My story wouldn’t exist without higher education,” he said, noting Nappy Roots’ origins as a hip-hop group that Western Kentucky University students created in the early 1990s.
B. Stille spoke during a live-streamed event Tuesday to promote the scholarship.
After cutting his college education short to pursue a career as a musician, B. Stille returned to college and earned his organizational leadership degree in 2019, fulfilling a promise he made to his mother.
To students who question whether they can go back to school and earn a degree, B. Stille said “I did it, and trust me, I’m on tour every day trying to get my assignments in. If I can do it, y’all can do it.”
Kentucky stands to gain by boosting degree completion, B. Stille said. “It helps us grow, too. As you grow, so do we,” he said.
The Work Ready Scholarship’s official website said it was established in 2017 and provides up to 60 hours of tuition for those who qualify. It targets high-demand job sectors, including health care, manufacturing, business and information technology, construction and skilled trades and transportation and logistics.
Funded by the Kentucky Lottery, more than 5,600 students have received nearly $17 million in Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship dollars, according to Kentucky Lottery President and CEO Mary Harville.
In November, Gov. Andy Beshear announced a new campaign to promote the scholarship program in light of the major job losses Kentuckians experienced in 2020, a news release said.
As part of the awareness campaign, B. Stille penned a rap that is used in its advertising.
“B. Stille’s rap says: ‘Never underestimate you!’ This is because many of our current and prospective students often underestimate what they’re capable of,” Paul Czarapata, Kentucky Community and Technical College System interim president, said in a news release. “Stille’s message is: ‘You can go to college, and you can be successful.’ He believes if he can do it, anyone can.”
In addition to any KCTCS school, courses are available at Campbellsville University, Eastern Kentucky University, Galen College of Nursing, MedQuest College, Northern Kentucky University, Sullivan University, University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University, the release said.
To qualify, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid before completing the Work Ready application.
A hotline (833-711-WRKS) and a live web chat offer assistance from college advisers on how to enroll in the program, the release said.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @NewsByAaron or visit bgdailynews.com.