All 120 Kentucky counties are now participating in the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program to try to meet workforce development goals, Gov. Steve Beshear said Wednesday.
Speaking at the annual conference of county-judge executives in Lexington, the governor said more than half of Kentucky’s counties have been certified under the program.
The program from the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board and state Education and Workforce Development Cabinet assures employers that a local workforce has the talent and skills necessary to staff existing jobs and to master innovative technologies that new jobs will require. Certification began in February 2012.
“The quality of our workforce is the key factor that will dictate Kentucky’s ability to attract jobs of the future and ensure Kentucky’s prosperity,” said Beshear. “We are putting a system in place that will better equip Kentucky’s workforce with the skills required to be competitive in the new economy and will provide our businesses with the top-notch workforce they need.”
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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.
Counties that achieve Kentucky Work Ready status must be re-certified every two years.
Beshear’s announcement was the second jobs announcement he has made this week. On Monday, he launched the Reworking Kentucky program to try to find jobs for former drug addicts.