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Learning sessions scheduled for January to review revised Kentucky Work Ready Communities criteria

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The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB) will host learning sessions on January 16 and January 23 for elected officials, business leaders and all persons who are interested.

Sec. Heiner

The goal is to inform community leaders about the recently approved revised criteria for Kentucky Work Ready Communities.

“The new criteria reflects the growing needs of employers and communities and an effort to meet business and industry demands,” said Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner. “The Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board’s leadership on developing this new criteria is to be commended.”

The Kentucky Work Ready Communities program assists employers in establishing the supply of local workforce pipelines which has the talent and skills necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the innovative technologies new jobs will require. To continue to be on the cutting edge of workforce and economic development, KWIB has revised the criteria for new or renewed Work Ready Communities applications. The new criteria is effective Jan. 1, 2018, for all new certifications and/or recertifications.

The learning sessions will be held Tuesday, Jan. 16 from 10 – 11:30 a.m. and Tuesday, Jan. 23 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Both will be done by conference call.

To register for a learning session, visit workready.ky.gov/Certified and click on the registration link.

“We take every opportunity to encourage and assist communities in preparing themselves for corporate investment and new job creation,” said Vivek Sarin, executive officer of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “For many companies, the readiness and availability of the local workforce is a key factor in deciding where to locate new projects. The more prepared a community is, the more interest they will receive from prospect companies.”

Counties that achieve Kentucky Work Ready or Work Ready in Progress status must be recertified every three years.

“The Kentucky Work Ready Communities program has been so successful that KWIB is excited about taking this initiative to the next level by challenging communities to meet and exceed an even higher criteria for education, training, local and regional collaboration and quality of life,” said Hugh Haydon, chair of KWIB.

To become a certified Work Ready Community, a county must gather local support and commitment and apply for the designation. According to the new criteria, counties have to meet benchmarks in 11 areas including high school graduation rates, industry-recognized certificate holders, demonstrated community commitment, employer engagement, and internet availability and speed.

Counties that are close to meeting all of the criteria may be designated as Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress. To achieve this level, a county must present a viable plan to meet all of the criteria within three years.

“We want the program to be relevant to existing employer needs so that communities will be able to best compete for industries that are looking for new locations or want to expand in Kentucky,” said Heiner.

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. Currently, nearly 90 counties are certified as Work Ready Communities or Work Ready Communities in Progress.

If you have questions about the learning sessions, contact Melissa Aguilar at Melissa.Aguilar@ky.gov.

For more information about the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program, click here.

Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet

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