Fayette County will remain in its current 17-county federal workforce development area that controls millions of federal workforce training dollars.
Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order late Thursday that redesignated the federal workforce areas in Kentucky. Those 10 local workforce areas control more than $49.8 million in federal workforce training dollars. Beshear also issued an executive order Thursday that appointed new members of the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board, an advisory board that oversees how those federal workforce dollars are spent.
Both changes — the redesignation of the workforce development areas and the appointment of a new board — were required under a new federal workforce training law.
Lexington had sought its own workforce area because of concerns about the oversight of that program by the Bluegrass Area Development District. The Bluegrass ADD has been the fiscal agent for the more than $12 million in federal workforce funds for decades.
Lexington officials also have complained that although 51 percent of the workforce in the 17-county region resides in Lexington, too few workforce training dollars were spent in Fayette County.
Beshear requested that officials with the Bluegrass ADD and the city of Lexington go to mediation to settle those differences. Last month, the two sides came to an agreement: Fayette County will have more representation on a local workforce investment board, and the contract for the fiscal agent for those workforce dollars would be competitively bid.
That agreement must be approved by the Lexington Urban County Council and local officials with the 16 other counties.
The new Kentucky Workforce Investment Board members whom Beshear appointed Thursday will have more representatives from business than the previous board. The new makeup of the board is required under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.
"The quality of our workforce is the key factor that will dictate Kentucky's ability to attract the jobs of the future and ensure Kentucky's prosperity," Beshear said. "That's why I'm directing the new board to initiate and oversee critical strategies that will link workforce policies, education and training programs, and funding with the economic development needs of the Commonwealth and its regions in mind."