A new program at an eastern Kentucky college has some hoping to stay at home and work in the mountains.
Pikeville College officials say a US Department of Labor study shows social work is the fastest growing profession more and more people need help, but they say in eastern Kentucky, there's not enough people to help and the problem will only get worse.
“There is a real need in the area with baby boom population and as well as substance abuse problems for professionals that are equipped to handle those problems,” Genesia Kilgore-Bowling said.
She says there's not enough places locally to train and educate new social workers.
Pikeville College Administrators conducted a study, saw the need, and decided to do something.
“This is a big and important undertaking for our university,” Pikeville College Dean Wallace Maynard said.
They're starting a new social work major.
The program's goal is to not only train new workers, but to also get them to stay in eastern Kentucky.
Students are already signing up.
“The area that I live in is the most important to me. I want to provide more opportunities and promote more opportunities for people in this area,” Megan McKinley said.
Directors hope these future social workers are just the first of many to go through the program, but more importantly, to help eastern Kentuckians.
Directors say the new major starts in the fall and is a four year degree.