Only funeral director program in state starting in Cumberland

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Officials say there is a growing demand for funeral directors in our region but officials say Kentucky has not had a training program in 35 years. That is all changing now. Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College is launching a new program to train licensed funeral directors.

The coordinator, Denise Shumate, had to leave home to train to be a licensed funeral director.

"I went to Pittsburgh, and that's far away to travel," Shumate said.

Now she is helping set-up a program close to home. Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College is starting a funeral service program in Cumberland, the only one in the state.

"We are proud to be the first in the state of Kentucky to offer this program," said Dr. Bruce Ayers, SKCTC President.

"Our students will not have to go to other states so they can have something in their own backyard to be able to attend," said Sidney Fogle, Executive Director of the Kentucky Funeral Directors Association.

They say more funeral directors are needed in this region too.

"So this was a program we could see was viable and the need was there. The growing need is like 12 percent each year, the employment growing," said Shumate.

The program will take 20 students per year and classes will only be on Monday and Tuesdays to help students with families. Some course work will also be online. Students will have an apprenticeship in the program.

Once finished, students can then take the steps to become licensed funeral directors in Kentucky or other states.

"Creating a top quality, professional program and that's what we're doing," said Shumate.

The first class starts in August.

Anyone interested in the program can call 606-248-3141 or 606-589-3038.

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