Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner announced August 18, 2016 that Knox and Whitley Counties have been certified as a Kentucky Work Ready Community in Progress.
The Kentucky Work Ready Community certification program from the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (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.
“We are excited to designate Knox and Whitley Counties as Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress, and 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 of North American human resources for INOAC.
“We are excited to receive this certification for Whitley County,” said Pat White, Jr., Whitley County Judge Executive. “It truly demonstrates what a great opportunity our area offers businesses through our qualified and dedicated employees.”
J. M. Hall, Knox County Judge Executive, said, “This is an essential element for economic development in Knox County and demonstrates our community commitment to assure both established employers and new industry that our local workforce has the ability to compete in the local and global economy. Thank you to the committee members for their work on this project.”
“I would like to thank Maggie Bill from EKU and the committee members for their hard work, time and dedication”, said Bruce Carpenter, Executive Director of the Southeast Industrial Development Authority and the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “Both Knox and Whitley Counties look forward to continuing this process, the ultimate goal is for both counties to become Work Ready Certified Communities.”
Knox and Whitley Counties were designated as Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress because both counties are close to meeting the criteria to be certified as a Kentucky Work Ready Community. 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.
To become certified, communities must gather local support and commitment and apply for the Kentucky Work Ready Communities designation. Counties have to meet criteria in six areas including high school graduation rate, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development and digital literacy.
Applications for certification are reviewed by a panel appointed by the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board. The panel recommends certification by the board for the counties that meet the criteria. The panel meets four times a year to review applications which can be submitted at any time. For more information about the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program, go to http://workready.ky.gov.