By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Dec. 4, 2013 — According to recent statistics published in Site Selection Magazine, a well-trained workforce is the top criterion corporate executives seek when deciding where to place or expand their companies.
The Work Ready Communities program is an initiative by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to give counties a leg up by certifying the training level of their local workforces.
Robert Curry is the executive director of the Bluegrass Skills Corporation. He was on hand to present the potential benefits to Carter County in obtaining Work Ready certification.
“We are seeing a lot of rural counties in Kentucky pursue this certification in order to compete with the more urban areas in the state in terms of attracting businesses,” said Curry.
In order to qualify as a work ready community, a county must have a high school graduation rate of at least 82.32 percent, show active endorsement and participation in the program from local business and government, and at least 25 percent of the workforce must possess an associate (two-year) degree or higher.
Also, plans must be in place for 9 percent of the work population to hold the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) within three years, as well as a “soft skills” program for high school and adult education students.
Soft skills encompass things such as work ethic, punctuality and ability to work in harmony with other workers.
In addition to the above criteria, high speed Internet must be available to more than 90 percent of households in the county.
Counties not yet able to reach those thresholds can apply for the Work Ready Community in Progress certification.
This gives a county the benefit of certification, providing they can meet the required thresholds within a three-year period.
“We wanted something that would set Kentucky apart from other states in terms of the skill of our local workforce,” said Curry.
Those interested in learning more the program can visit workready.ky.gov.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.