HAZARD — Dr. Juston Pate, the current interim president at Hazard Community and Technical College, sat down with The Hazard Herald to discuss what his goals and what he would like to accomplish during his time as interim president at HCTC. He also discussed what he believed the importance community colleges have on the communities they serve.
Dr. Pate is a Harlan County native. He attended Southeast Community College before heading to Union College and knows the importance that community college has on the students, but also the communities they serve.
He graduated from Union College with a teaching degree. Dr. Pate wanted to be a football coach. His first year teaching was at Harlan High School.
Dr. Pate ended up in Mason County teaching English and coaching football. He would later become the assistant principal and then principal of the Mason County Area Technology Center.
He would then get connected with community and technical college systems in Mason County. He became the associate academic dean of Maysville Community and Technical College at the Morehead Rowan Campus. He spent three years as the associate academic dean before he became the chief academic officer.
Last year, Dr. Pate became a provost. He was then asked to become interim president of HCTC for it’s spring semester.
“This is a great college. I think the goal is to strengthen the foundation and to keep everybody on a path to success. We want to be engaged in a community relationship. We want to be a part of the community and the community be a part of us,” said Dr. Pate of HCTC.
Dr. Pate said that he wants to highlight the community relationships and have conversations with community members.
“I have been so impressed with the way every community embraces this college. This college loves our communities,” Dr. Pate said.
Dr. Pate pointed out that the people who work at HCTC are part of the community and the people in the community are the college.
“We go to church together, we attend community events together, a lot of the community has attended this college and the college only exists because of the communities support…We want to be sure to put a priority on that,” said Dr. Pate.
He believes that community colleges have an important part to play with workforce preparation for the community and also individual preparation.
“All in all, I’m just very proud to be a part of what is going on here at HCTC. We are doing great things, we are doing great things as a community, as a region, we are ever mindful of the future and looking for options that will lead to viable careers and family sustainable wages,” said Dr. Pate.
One of the biggest goals Dr. Pate would like to accomplish during his time as interim president is to promote and hopefully receive funding for the construction of an Intergenerational Training Center in Jackson. The training center would provide training labs. The labs would train students for careers as broadband technicians, telemedicine technicians, plumbing and masonry, among other careers.
The training center would help students from Lee, Wofle, Owsley and Breatitt Counties get technical training. Most students can’t make the 90 minute trip everyday to Hazard for technical training, said Dr. Pate.
“Having that flexibility makes us much stronger as a college because we become stronger as a region,” said Dr. Pate.
Dr. Pate will be the interim president until May. He will then go back to Maysville and spend time with his wife and kids.
TJ Caudill can be reached at 606-629-3245 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.