Workforce needs take center stage

Employers, educators, and people from all areas of Kentucky’s workforce system came together Wednesday at the Kentucky Chamber’s 2nd Annual Kentucky Workforce Summit to discuss how to address the issues the state faces in trying to build a healthy and skilled workforce.

The Kentucky Workforce Summit: Solutions for Economic Competitiveness focused on key areas where greater employer involvement can make a positive difference for the productivity of their companies and the overall quality of Kentucky’s workforce including a focus on essential skills, career readiness, utilizing apprenticeship programs, and more.

Speakers and panelists throughout the day emphasized the need to move from a workforce system that has business and education on opposite sides of the table and instead use all of the resources available in the state to begin solving these issues.

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson discussed the recent launch of the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center and introduced the center’s executive director, Beth Davisson.

Davisson explained that the goal of the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center will be to ensure the business community’s voice is being heard when it comes to workforce and having their input at the forefront in the discussions on how to fix the system and better prepare people to become employees.

Another announcement was featured in the closing keynote as Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) Secretary Hal Heiner and Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS) Executive Director Kate Akers, Ph.D. released the Kentucky Future Skills Report is the state’s first interactive report on workforce supply and demand.

“This report will provide much needed feedback to policymakers, practitioners, the business community and the public about the future of Kentucky’s workforce,” Secretary Heiner said. “It’s the first time in the Commonwealth and possibly the United States that a report has been this comprehensive when linking actual education and workforce data.”

The Kentucky Future Skills Report utilizes three components of education and workforce development in Kentucky: Historic Workforce Supply, Current Employment Outcomes and Future Workforce Demand.

“Kentuckians can now use an interactive tool to compare credential supply by State, Workforce Planning Region and Local Workforce Area,” said Akers. “The report represents more than 600,000 credentials from over 450,000 individuals over the past five years.”

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