Governor launches program to give Kentuckians second chances alongside Chamber President

After hearing from employers that they have positions available but no one to fill them, Governor Steve Beshear announced the launch of “Reworking Kentucky” to help connect Kentuckians recovering from addiction with employment services.

In the press conference Monday, Beshear stated the Reworking Kentucky model represents strengthening of existing programs and will help people find employment after they finish treatment.

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson said at the press conference that he believes the program will help ensure Kentucky has a strong workforce with qualified workers.

“We need all hands on deck, we can’t afford to allow a portion of the working population to be considered expendable. We have got to work with training programs and this kind of coordination to bring talented people back into the workforce because employers need it,” Adkisson said. “Businesses across Kentucky will benefit from this new program.”

Along the same lines, Adkisson noted the Kentucky Chamber’s recent announcement of support for felony expungement legislation after the Chamber’s Board of Directors adopted to a policy that would help address Kentucky’s qualified workforce shortage by supporting legislation to provide work opportunities for individuals who are currently limited by a single past mistake.

First Lady Jane Beshear said she got interested in issue while on campaign trail and heard from employers who said they had high paying positions open and while many people have the education needed, it is difficult to find clean and sober applicants.

Mrs. Beshear stated that individuals are more likely to remain sober when they are able to be employed and contributing to society.

Also speaking at the announcement Monday was Melissa Johnson, a former registered nurse, said she was incarcerated after making “some bad choices.” Because of those choices, Johnson said she was struggling to find work after treatment even with her 20 years of health care experience.

Johnson is a graduate of Recovery Kentucky, one of the programs Beshear referred to, and has found employment with Opportunity for Work and Learning in Lexington.

David Boggs, the CEO of Opportunity for Work and Learning, touted Johnson’s experience as a success story and applauded the governor and first lady for expanding these types of programs with Reworking Kentucky.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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