Lee Nimocks, left, senior vice president and chief of staff at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, accepted the Stan Jones Legacy Award from Dr. Yolanda Watson Spiva, right, president of Complete College America.

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education Recipient of Complete College America’s (CCA) Highest Honor

FRANKFORT, KY -- The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) is the recipient of Complete College America’s (CCA) highest honor, the Stan Jones Legacy Award.

The award was presented at Future Ready, CCA’s 2023 annual convening in Las Vegas.

The award, established in 2016 to honor CCA’s founder and first president, recognizes an individual, organization or state that has consistently embodied the vision of Complete College America and worked toward achieving the goals of increasing the number of students who earn credentials of value. Kentucky is a member of the CCA Alliance, a group of states, systems, institutional consortia and partner organizations working to increase the number of students completing college.

“Kentucky has been a model for building internal state coalitions, implementing inter-institutional data practices, and successfully creating statewide support for college completion,” Dr. Yolanda Watson Spiva, president of CCA, said in a news release.

CCA also noted Kentucky is a national leader in using data to effectively advocate for and implement change in postsecondary education. Kentucky’s participation in the National Student Clearinghouse Postsecondary Data Partnership has been used as a model for other states to collect and analyze data to drive completion strategy. CCA also recognized CPE for achieving bipartisan support while working with elected officials in the commonwealth. 

Aaron Thompson 200

“We’re honored to receive this recognition from CCA, which has partnered closely with us on implementing statewide strategies since we joined the CCA Alliance in 2011,” Dr. Aaron Thompson, CPE president, said. “We strive to innovate postsecondary education in Kentucky to create access for students and build a stronger workforce.”

Some recent CPE accomplishments include:

  • raising educational attainment to 54.3%, six points shy of its goal to reach 60% by 2030.
  • developing the Kentucky Graduate Profile, a set of career-focused learning outcomes.
  • leading the Commonwealth Education Continuum, a collaborative group of education, business and government leaders united in strengthening Kentucky’s education pipeline.
  • committing to increase college students’ access to public benefits and basic needs services through the work of the Basic Needs Action Network.
  • participating as one of seven states in the Launch impact cohort to evaluate, strengthen and scale college and career pathways as systems.
  • creating the Kentucky Advising Academy, which provides guidance and resources to 75% of Kentucky’s school districts to improve college and career preparation.
  • administering the Healthcare Workforce Collaborative, a $10 million effort to respond to the state’s critical healthcare workforce shortage.


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.


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