Awards were presented by: Dr. Aaron Thompson, CPE President and Dr. Leslie Sizemore, assistant vice president of workforce initiatives at CPE

Three Kentucky Leaders Recognized by Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) with Innovative Healthcare Leader Award

FRANKFORT, KY - The awards ceremony capped off the Council’s inaugural Healthcare Workforce Collaboratory, an event to bring together Kentucky's leadership in higher education, healthcare, the legislature and workforce development to discuss the challenges and strategies for strengthening the college-to-career pipeline for healthcare workers.

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) recognized Kentucky Senate President Sen. Robert Stivers, Rep. Ken Fleming and Secretary Eric Friedlander with the Innovative Healthcare Leader award for their impact on strengthening the healthcare workforce during the inaugural 2023 Healthcare Workforce Collaboratory.

CPE Award Stivers Fleming Friedlander 700

Winners of the Innovative Healthcare Leader award - L to R: Kentucky Senate President Sen. Robert Stivers, Rep. Ken Fleming and Secretary Eric Friedlander

Congratulations to our award winners and thank you for your work and partnership in trying to best serve all the people of Kentucky,” Dr. Aaron Thompson, president of the CPE, said.   

Stivers was honored for his work on Senate Bill 10 and for serving Kentucky by creating a healthy workforce. 

“Thank you for being a partner with CPE and all of Kentucky,” Thompson said. “He is dedicated to the 25th senate district, which includes my hometown of Manchester in Clay County. His commitment to postsecondary education has been unmatched.”

Fleming was recognized for his work in creating state policy to expand healthcare workforce partnerships. 

“Rep. Ken Fleming has worked hand-in-hand with CPE. This was an exemplary example of good partnership,” Thompson said. “Your ability to work with CPE is clearly noticed among many in Kentucky, but especially by us.”  

Friedlander was honored for his assistance in improving healthcare, mental health and student basic needs in Kentucky higher education. 

“During a meeting last week, his first question was ‘how can we work even more together to get what’s needed for this state?’” Thompson said. “Thank you for your care, innovation and vision.” 

More than 250 participants from across sectors attended the conference.         

It was wonderful to celebrate the opportunity for partnerships between higher education and the healthcare industry to better meet the needs of our healthcare workforce for the future,” Dr. Leslie Sizemore, assistant vice president of workforce initiatives at CPE, said. “We want to make sure Kentuckians have the best healthcare possible.”  

The conference included a keynote from Dr. Thompson, which addressed the evolution of partnerships between state agencies, higher education institutions and employers to solve the critical shortage of healthcare professionals. Other panels and discussions included the highlights of the Healthcare Workforce Collaborative (HWC); the current state of Kentucky hospitals and possible solutions to improve healthcare quality and access; how AI will impact future healthcare workers; legislative ideas on how to advance healthcare, workforce and postsecondary education; developing partnership opportunities in healthcare and workforce development; and poster displays detailing the use of Kentucky Healthcare Collaborative grant supported workforce initiatives.


The Council on Postsecondary Education is leading transformation in our workforce, economy and quality of life by advancing progress in educational attainment across Kentucky. As the state’s higher education coordinating agency, we champion high-quality, inclusive and affordable postsecondary opportunities that prepare students for civic engagement and sustainable careers. That’s why we are undertaking the 60x30 goal, an ambitious effort to raise the percentage of working-age Kentuckians with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 60% by the year 2030. At CPE, we believe that higher education matters – for everyone.


Submit Press Releases