Some of the region's most impactful institutions have come together to celebrate a newly-developed partnership supporting workforce participation in the southern Kentucky region. The work group will consist of workforce experts, county and city officials, business leaders, educators, and key stakeholders. The mission of this group will be to increase workforce participation, develop existing workforce, and work collaboratively with both employers and employees to fill jobs.
According to the South Central Workforce Development Board, there are more than 8,000 open jobs in our region that need to be filled. Jon Sowards, the President of the board said, ”Although low labor force participation is a concerning national and local issue, we are very fortunate to live in a region that tackles challenges head-on. This working group of leaders recognizes that our exceptional quality of life is tied to the vibrancy of our workforce. It is in our best interest to continue to encourage, inspire, and help folks to return to the workforce.”
Warren County Judge Executive, Mike Buchanon, added, “We are in one of the most attractive areas in this part of the country to live, work, and play. Our assets made us the fastest growing community in the state, and this collaboration will ensure our continued success through growing our workforce and enhancing the opportunities for our citizens.”
Some of the first efforts the work group will tackle will involve marketing the community to those who already live here and would like to find employment, as well as to those who live outside our community who are interested in relocating or finding employment here. “Bowling Green, and the surrounding region is home to an impressive lineup of high-paying companies with incredible cultures and a solid track record of building careers. Working with those companies to fill jobs has always been our number one priority, and we won't stop until every position is filled.” said Ron Bunch of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.
Local education partners are paramount in ensuring we have a career-ready workforce. “WKU takes seriously our responsibility to join our community partners in solving the workforce needs across our region,” said Dr. Timothy Caboni, President of Western Kentucky University. “The collaboration we celebrate today is yet another example of these partnerships at work. We remain committed to providing a talented pipeline of skilled graduates who will be changemakers in our region.”
Dr. Phil Neal, President/CEO of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College said, “SKYCTC continues its never-ending commitment to providing a skilled workforce. We are increasing our capacity to train as well as making higher education as flexible, affordable, and accessible as possible. Placing more highly trained Kentuckians in careers within local industries is our top priority.”
“Warren County Public Schools is honored to join local community leaders in a collaborative, ongoing effort to systematically improve the quality of workforce talent throughout our area,” said Rob Clayton, Superintendent, Warren County Public Schools. “We are fortunate to have a thriving educational and business community in Warren County; however, we must find a solution to address the current workforce shortage that is negatively impacting every industry throughout our greater community.”
The work group is meeting monthly, developing a strategy, and will begin to execute that strategy early next year.
To watch the full press conference click here.