July 15, 1998

With rare exceptions, all Kentuckians will need to participate in some sort of postsecondary, occupational skill-development program if they are to be productive enough in the new knowledge-based economy to earn for themselves and their families a decent standard of living. Our comprehensive postsecondary educational program must emphasize excellence and make this educational product accessible to every Kentuckian where they live. We must also insure that it’s affordable. We are well on our way to fulfilling this responsibility.

It’s not enough, however, to just make it available, our people must take advantage of it. All too many Kentuckians do not fully realize the impact on their lives of not educating themselves to their individual maximum capacity. To the extent that our people reduce their earning power by not taking advantage of available educational opportunities, they reduce the productivity of our society which affects all of us. We as a people must not only make education available to everyone, we must take positive action to encourage all Kentuckians to educate themselves to their maximum potential. That is the focus of the "Education Pays" program.

The state of Kentucky has adopted the phrase as our logo. It will appear on all signs welcoming people to the Commonwealth and in other appropriate places such as letterheads and road maps. We will develop public service announcements to be used by our electronic and print media and we are encouraging our public-spirited businesses to adopt this phrase as a part of their advertising program as well as a permanent part of their literature and other means of access to the people.

If people are exposed to an idea often enough, they will eventually accept it as true. This is the entire foundation of the advertising industry -- repetition.

While we expect certain parts of our campaign to extend all year long, the month of special emphasis will be August, just as people are starting a new academic year.

This will not be a quick or easy task. The lack of adequate appreciation of the value of an education is deeply ingrained in many of our people. They are poor because they aren’t educated but because they aren’t educated, they don’t realize that’s why they are poor.

Our primary focus must be to educate our children during the traditional years but we must also target those who didn’t get an adequate education during their early life.

Virtually all humans want a better life for their children and we must convince the undereducated parents of the Commonwealth that a better life for their children lies with education. If it is important to the parents, it will be important to the children.

Mass exposure to a consistent message works. It will be slow, but it can be done. It’s a necessary complement to our program of excellence and accessibility to all levels of education and it’s something we must do, because, more than anything else, EDUCATION PAYS.