Success Stories and Tesitmonials
Larry Trent Allen visited Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency in May 2017. He had recently been laid-off from his truck driving job after several years. He was confused and not sure where to turn. While speaking with a career advisor, Trent inquired about furthering his education at Southeast Community and Technical College (SKCTC). After taking assessments, Trent found that he had an interest in computers and design. He promptly enrolled in the Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) program at SKCTC. Trent stated, “I never had an interest in going to school when I was younger. My parents offered to pay for me to go to college, but I knew that I would end up wasting their money, so I didn’t go.” Things changed for Trent as he got older and realized the benefits of an education. While at SKCTC, Trent maintained a 4.0 grade point average. According to his professor at SKCTC, Gary Steenbergen, Trent was one of the finest students that he ever had the privilege to teach. Not only did Trent excel in the classroom, but he also used his CADD skills to assist an unfortunate member of his community. Mr. Steenbergen received a telephone call from a therapist at a local nursing home about a patient that had lost both legs, one hand and part of the other hand. The therapist explained that insurance would only pay for two prosthetic limbs. Steenbergen turned to Trent for assistance in constructing a 3-D hand for the patient. Trent didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to help someone in need. Trent, along with another student, researched prosthetic hands and found one that they felt comfortable creating. They downloaded the template into their CADD software and began the tedious work of producing a hand. A first, more rudimentary, hand was built and given to the patient. Trent wasn’t satisfied with the first hand, so a second, more refined, hand was built. Before the second hand could be presented, the patient passed away. Trent still wanted to pay it forward, so he donated the prosthetic to Steenbergen so he could use it in future teachings. After graduating with honors from SKCTC in May 2019, Trent has obtained a great career as a logistics manager. He stated, “I work very long days. Some days are 18-20 hours long. But I am very satisfied where I am at in life. I have worked hard to get here, and I am glad I did.” He is also very gracious at the opportunities that Bell-Whitley provided him. “I thank everyone at Bell-Whitley that assisted me in my journey. They taught me to have confidence in myself. They provided tuition assistance, helped pay for books and tools and they gave me a monthly stipend that allowed me to continue my studies. I cannot thank them enough for how they helped change my life.”
After suffering a permanent layoff Ms. M came to Bell-Whitley CAA seeking employment assistance through the WIOA program.
After assessing Ms. M's needs and goals, WIOA partnered with a local employer to allow Ms. M to participate in the internship program allowing her to obtain a new skill set that would ultimately lead to full time permanent employment opportunities.
The Internship program goals are to develop and explore a career field, gain working requirements, acquiring personal attributes, knowledge and skills to advance in employment, integrate basic skills into work activities, and promote leadership and community involvement.
Ms. M is still employed and has worked her way into a management position.
Bell Whitley Community Action Agency partners with Community Action Council and Kentucky Utilities to offer the Kentucky Utilities Home Energy Assistance Program (HEA). The HEA program assists low income Kentucky Utilities customers by providing an $88.00 credit to their accounts during the peak heating and cooling months: December, January, February, March, July, August and September. Bell Whitley CAA currently has 222 clients enrolled and receiving benefits thru the HEA program. This relieves some of the burden of high electricity bills during these peak months by making energy more affordable and reducing the number of disconnects.
Bell Whitley Community Action Agency’s Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) presents scholarships to local high school seniors in both Bell and Whitley counties. This scholarship assists with tuition, books and fees at the student’s chosen university. In 2018, Bell Whitley CAA presented 4 scholarships in the amount of $640.40 to students at Bell County High School and Middlesboro High School in Bell County and Whitley County High School in Whitley County. These students attended The University of Louisville, The University of the Cumberland, Morehead State University and Lincoln Memorial University. The CSBG Scholarship helped to lessen the impact of tuition costs to low income students allowing them to focus more on their studies.