The Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee, formed to review and select proposals to elevate the Commonwealth’s workforce training capacity, awarded more than $65.5 million to 25 Kentucky projects on Jan. 31 in its first round of funding.
Launched in July 2016, the $100 million Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative is aimed at developing a highly trained, modernized workforce to meet the needs of employers, grow the state’s economy and promote sustainable incomes for Kentuckians.
“The response to the Work Ready Skills Initiative has been truly astounding,” said Gov. Bevin. “This important initiative is a key component in our pursuit to make Kentucky the nation’s premier engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence. This historic investment in training our workforce will truly be transformative for the Commonwealth.”
The 25 projects are spread across all 10 local workforce areas, with awards ranging from $30,780 – $15.2 million. The projects include construction and renovation of facilities and the purchase of new equipment aimed at providing workforce training and education in Kentucky’s top five growth sectors of advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, business services and information technology, healthcare, and construction trades.
“The Work Ready Skills Initiative has created a tremendous buzz and energy around the whole state among employers, educators and elected officials. Everywhere I go, people are excited about the opportunity to improve their communities through education and careers in technology in high-demand sectors. These great jobs are waiting to be filled by qualified Kentuckians and that’s what this initiative is all about,” said Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner, who chairs the committee.
“The committee was very impressed with the high quality of applications from across the state. All of the projects are driven by teams of local leaders from high schools, government, postsecondary schools and companies that are working together, some for the first time, to prepare their citizens for careers in high-demand careers. I really can’t imagine a better investment in the future of Kentucky than the Work Ready Skills Initiative,” said Heiner.
In August, the 10-member Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee received 117 pre-applications totaling nearly $565 million in requests. They spent the last six months reviewing proposals and interviewing applicants from across Kentucky to select the recipients. A second round will award about $34 million later this year.
“The committee members have volunteered hundreds of hours of their time and done a remarkable job to select these promising projects. I want to thank them for their commitment to Kentucky’s workforce and economic development and to our citizens,” Heiner said.
The committee selected the following applications and amounts for funding:
For more information about the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative, please visit www.KentuckyWorkReady.com.