Secretary Hal Heiner has announced that Ballard and Mason counties have been certified as Kentucky Work Ready Communities. Jackson, Meade and Owen counties have been certified as Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress.
“I am excited to announce that we now have 37 counties that have achieved Work Ready Communities certification by the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB) and there are 51 counties in progress to become Work Ready Communities,” Heiner said.
“Everything we aspire to economically is contingent on our communities having a skilled workforce that is ready and able to fulfill the needs of employers. Earning the Kentucky Work Ready Communities certification gives counties a competitive edge when businesses are looking for a new location or want to expand in Kentucky. I encourage all communities in the Commonwealth to pursue the Work Ready designation,” Heiner added.
The Kentucky Work Ready Communities certification program from the KWIB and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet assures employers that a local workforce has the talent and skills necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the innovative technologies new jobs will require.
To become certified, a county must gather local support and commitment and apply for the Work Ready Community designation. Counties have to meet criteria in six areas including high school graduation rates, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development and digital literacy.
The counties of Adair, Anderson, Ballard, Boone, Bourbon, Boyd, Boyle, Bullitt, Caldwell, Campbell, Carlisle, Clark, Daviess, Fleming, Graves, Greenup, Hardin, Henderson, Hopkins, Kenton, Madison, Marshall, Mason, McCracken, Mercer, Montgomery, Nelson, Nicholas, Oldham, Pulaski, Rowan, Shelby, Trigg, Union, Warren, Washington and Woodford have been designated as Kentucky Work Ready Communities since certification began in February 2012.
“We look forward to certifying many others in the future,” said Kurt Krug, chair of the Kentucky Work Ready Communities Review Panel and vice-president, North American, Human Resources for INOAC located in Springfield.
Counties that achieve Kentucky Work Ready status must be recertified every three years.
“The Kentucky Work Ready Communities program momentum is growing as more communities learn about the certification and how it can help them achieve a higher level of competitiveness among business and industry,” said Hugh Haydon, chair of KWIB. “In addition to the 88 counties that have achieved certification as Work Ready or Work Ready in Progress, another 23 have submitted a letter of intent.”
Counties are designated as Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress because they are close to meeting the Kentucky Work Ready Community criteria. To achieve this level, a county must present a viable plan to meet all of the criteria within three years.
The designation shows that a community is making strides and working with its business, education, workforce and economic development leaders to set and meet common goals that will give the county an economic edge.
Applications for the certification are reviewed by a panel appointed by the KWIB. The panel recommends certification by the board for the counties that satisfy the criteria. The panel meets four times a year to review applications, which can be submitted at any time.
(Story Provided by Kentucky Education Cabinet)