Improving quality and transparency of Kentucky’s workforce systems prioritized in executive order from Gov. Bevin

With the continuing struggle to meet the workforce needs of Kentucky employers, Gov. Matt Bevin signed an executive order on Friday bringing together stakeholders to implement strategies to improve the state’s workforce efforts.

The executive order comes as employers continue to struggle with the talent they need even with more than $1 billion of state and federal funds for training and educating Kentuckians for the workforce.

“As Kentucky’s economy continues its record growth, we must ensure that our workforce programs do not operate in silos. Today’s businesses demand highly-skilled, highly-trained workers, and this new Collaborative will help to develop a comprehensive workforce system that aligns federal, state, and local resources to provide exciting new job opportunities for Kentuckians,” Gov. Bevin said.

The executive order establishes the KentuckyWorks Collaborative, an 18-member panel comprised of employers, local workforce boards, and federal agencies that will guide the state’s workforce strategy moving forward by identifying challenges and opportunities for the Commonwealth to improve the workforce system and monitoring performance metrics across the state.

The new KentuckyWorks Collaborative will serve as the oversight committee to ensure the implementation of the recently approved “Kentucky Work Ready: An Urgent Call to Action” strategic plan created by the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB).

Many of the pieces of the KWIB strategic plan mirror recommendations made by the Kentucky Chamber in a 2015 report titled Kentucky’s Workforce Challenges: The Employers Perspective. The report called for greater transparency of workforce spending dollars and ways to measure the performance and return on investment for workforce and education resources in Kentucky.

Through the executive order, the Collaborative will be tasked with the following:

  • Publish a report to identify all state and federally-funded workforce-related education, training, and support services in the past five years to review return on investment which will be used to improve effectiveness of the state’s workforce system
  • Recommend practices to align resources to operate more efficiently and streamline efforts
  • Create an earnings standard that represents minimum level of income for Kentucky residents to be considered self-sufficient
  • Monitoring of services delivered by local agencies to ensure best fit for Career Centers

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson and Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center Executive Director Beth Davisson were involved with the KWIB strategic plan and will be working with the Collaborative as Adkisson has been appointed as one of the 18 members on the panel.

“The majority of Kentucky businesses struggle to find the talent needed. If we want to get to the root causes of our workforce struggles, we have to understand what is working, and what isn’t. A step toward measuring return on investment is a good move for Kentucky businesses and our citizens. This is something the business community has placed as a priority since 2015,” Adkisson stated following the release of the executive order.

The governor’s executive order comes soon after a report released by the Business-Education Roundtable laying out many of the same priorities and setting an aggressive agenda to improve the state’s education and workforce systems. Learn more about the group of business and education leaders and the goals they will be working toward in the coming years.

Before the executive order was finalized, Gov. Bevin sat down with The Bottom Line to discuss what might be in the order and why it is critical to address these workforce issues. Watch the interview segment with The Bottom Line here.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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