Derrick Ramsey proved at the University of Kentucky that he could play different positions in football — he starred as quarterback and tight end — and now Gov. Matt Bevin is giving him a new position in his administration.
Bevin on Tuesday appointed Ramsey, who has been state labor secretary since December 2015, to be secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
Don Parkinson, who has been acting Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, will return full-time to his position as secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. Parkinson had been the interim education secretary since Hal Heiner stepped down April 17 to accept a Bevin appointment to the Kentucky Board of Education.
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Regina Stivers, the deputy tourism secretary and wife of state Senate President Robert Stivers, had been acting secretary in Parkinson's absence. She will return as deputy secretary.
Mike Nemes, deputy secretary of the Labor Cabinet and a former state representative, will be acting secretary of the Labor Cabinet.
The changes take effect immediately.
As part of Tuesday's announcement, Bevin directed Ramsey to begin immediately working with Nemes and Public Protection Cabinet Secretary David Dickerson to explore increased efficiencies among Kentucky’s Education and Workforce, Labor, and Public Protection cabinets.
"Our administration is committed to making Kentucky the best version of itself, and each of these cabinets plays a significant role in educating, licensing, and protecting our state’s current and future workforce,” said Bevin. “I am calling upon every cabinet secretary to explore possible synergies and efficiencies to further our shared goal of creating a skilled workforce that is the best in the nation and is equipped to meet the demands of Kentucky’s growing economy."
The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet is responsible for educating, preparing, and training Kentucky's current and future workforce.
Ramsey, 61, has decades of experience working in Kentucky's higher education system.
He began his career as a community relations officer at the University of Kentucky before becoming athletic director at Kentucky State University. Ramsey also served for seven years as athletics director for Coppin State University in Baltimore.
Ramsey was deputy commerce secretary under former Gov. Ernie Fletcher from 2003 to 2007.
"Derrick has worked tirelessly for the past 30 months, as Labor Cabinet secretary, on behalf of Kentucky's working men and women," said Bevin. "He has devoted himself to ensuring that Kentucky is the best place in the country to work, and he understands the unique challenges that are before us as we educate and prepare our next generation of workers."
As labor secretary, Ramsey helped overhaul the state's litigation management system for workers’ claims. Ramsey also revived Kentucky’s Registered Apprenticeship Program to better recruit and train the next generation of workers. Over 1,000 Kentucky employers have joined the program, which offers paid on-the-job training for participants.
"I am extremely thankful that Gov. Bevin has faith in my ability," said Ramsey. "I am very passionate about education and workforce development and, more importantly, the opportunity to help shape education and workforce development programs for generations to come. I look forward to this endeavor."
Ramsey, of Lexington, was the first black starting quarterback for the University of Kentucky football team. He also played two games on the basketball team as a walk-on in 1976. He had a nine-year career in the NFL, which included a Super Bowl championship in 1981.