Education Secretary Helen Mountjoy Explores Area Schools and Industry Needs at CU

By Linda Waggener, marketing and media relations coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary, Helen W. Mountjoy, discussed opportunities and challenges with leaders of area education and industry at a luncheon at Campbellsville University Thursday. Afterward she shared information in an interview to be aired on TV-4 with John Chowning, CU vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president.

Discussion during her visit centered around how industry and education can work more closely to meet the needs of today’s students, only 16% of which goes to college straight out of high school.

Mountjoy said she believes that workforce development is simply education offered on a different site.

“The whole point of pubic education,” she said, “since the beginning, has been to have an educated citizenry who can move into the workplace, earn a living and pay taxes to support the common good.”

She said the support should begin at kindergarten to prepare students for the workplace and moving into successful lives.

Dr. Frank D Cheatham, CU’s vice president for academics, shared with the secretary, and with the group, plans underway now for building on the success of Campbellsville University’s Technology Training Center (CUTTC). He noted the expanding offerings designed specifically to help meet workforce development needs in both the local community and the region. He outlined CU’s Dual Credit Program which helps high school students get an early start on college. He also pointed out the unique healthcare track in CU’s MBA program as well as the new Rank I program being offered.

Campbellsville School Superintendent Diane Ayers-Woods told the group, “This is very helpful dialogue. In P-12 education, we know we can no longer educate kids in isolation.”

Chowning pointed out four areas where short-term credentialing and degree options are already available at CU: allied health, student nursing, early childhood education and the tech center.

“You have a situation here in Campbellsville ripe for a lot of collaboration,” the secretary said in closing. She strongly encouraged education and industry to continue to work more closely together. “I like what I’m hearing,” she said, “and I will be back if you’ll invite me.” This was her first visit to Taylor County and Campbellsville University.

Mountjoy’s experience gives her special insight into both the education and the industry camps. Immediately prior to her appointment as Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary, Mountjoy was vice-president of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, where she worked primarily in the areas of workforce development and education.

In addition to her many accomplishments, Mountjoy served on the Kentucky Board of Education for 15 years (1991-2006) and as chair of the board from 1998 to 2004. Under her leadership, the board established a new statewide assessment system and student performance standards. The board also rewrote the commonwealth’s special education regulations, instituted a single, statewide standardized student and district management system, and increased public outreach and engagement regarding state education decisions.

A native of Chattanooga, Secretary Mountjoy graduated from Vanderbilt University with a double major in history and English and has done post-baccalaureate work at the University of Cincinnati and at Kentucky Wesleyan College. She has been married for 38 years to Owensboro attorney Jesse Mountjoy. They have three sons and one grandson.

For dates and times of the TV-4 interviews with Secretary Mountjoy, call 270-789-5210 or e-mail

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,405 students who represent 98 Kentucky counties, 25 states and 29 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his ninth year as president.

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