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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:

  • Allen County Career & Technical Center – $328,700
  • Barren County Board of Education – $6,840,000
  • Bluegrass Community & Technical College – Danville – $2,736,000
  • Bluegrass Community & Technical College – Leestown – $3,040,000
  • Boone County Schools – $6,840,000
  • Bowling Green High School – $77,520
  • Brighton Center, Inc. – $227,213
  • Caldwell County Schools – $1,520,000
  • Corbin Independent Schools – $382,149
  • Green County Board of Education – $1,520,000
  • Hazard Community & Technical College – $2,888,000
  • Jefferson Community & Technical College – $15,200,000
  • Jessamine County Schools – $760,000
  • KCEOC Community Action Partnership – $1,824,000
  • KY Tech – Warren County Area Technology Center – $557,726
  • Lee County Area Technology Center – $30,780
  • Martin County Area Technology Center – $2,736,000
  • MMRC Regional Industrial Development Authority / Maysville CTC – $1,140,000
  • Nelson County Area Technology Center – $64,526
  • Owensboro Community & Technical College – $2,858,244
  • Paducah Public Schools – $3,800,000
  • Shelby County Schools – $3,233,049
  • Somerset Community College – $3,800,000
  • Southcentral Community & Technical College – $179,000
  • West Kentucky Community & Technical College – $3,040,000

For more information about the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative, please visit

Free training to quickly prepare Louisville residents for good jobs in construction, manufacturing and other fields is available in west Louisville, and new classes are starting soon, Mayor Greg Fischer announced today.

Applications are being accepted now for training courses that range from two to seven weeks and will help participants connect to the many jobs created by the city’s building boom, or in manufacturing at companies such as GE, Ford, Algood Foods, Dakkota Integrated Systems and other companies.

Also, the REimage re-entry program is enrolling young people involved in the court system to help them stay in school, get a job or in dealing with family and social issues – with the goal of breaking the cycle of violence.

Job training and re-entry programs are Louisville Metro Government priorities and were high on the recently released 10-point plan of suggestions to reduce violence from the Brothers Reaching Brothers and Community Connections citizens’ group.

“Giving an individual the basic skills, support and connections to opportunities that are out there right now can turn that person’s life around, change their family’s outlook, and change their neighborhood,” said Mayor Fischer. “Most people just need that one break, that one opportunity. Incrementally, that helps reduce the hopelessness and violence, one person at a time.”

Classes for Kentuckiana Builds, which prepares people for construction-related jobs, are based at the Nia Center, 2900 W. Broadway. The manufacturing training is being held at Nia and at the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center, 160 Rochester Dr., in south Louisville.

More on the programs:

  • Kentuckiana Builds is a seven-week program with participants receiving training that prepares them for building trades such as plumbing, pipefitting and carpentry.  Students meet four hours each day, five days a week.  Those completing the training receive job placement assistance and other supportive services, such as financial empowerment and housing assistance. The next trainings are Jan. 23 for a class meeting in the evenings, and a daytime class starting on Feb. 6. Persons interested should attend an orientation session, held twice weekly at the Louisville Urban League, 1535 W. Broadway. For more information, call 566-3371 or go to

Kentuckiana Builds is a partnership between the Louisville Urban League, KentuckianaWorks, The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, the Jesus and a Job program and New Legacy Re-Entry Corporation.

The program is designed to get more people, especially women and minorities, quickly prepared to work on major projects under way or planned, including the expansion of the Kentucky International Convention Center, the Omni Hotel and many other hotel projects and new bourbon distilleries and tourism facilities.

  • Manufacturing training is available through a shorter, two-week program, the Manufacturing Training and Employment Connection (M-TEC) and a more intensive 30-day program, the Certified Production Technician (CPT) course. In 2016, the two programs have graduated more than 150 individuals, with more than 105 securing jobs with an average hourly pay of about $14.25. The next classes begin Jan. 3 with additional offerings in February, March and May. For more information or to enroll in either training program, call 276-9711, extension 4001.
  • REimage is a city-funded initiative that helps stop the cycle of crime and violence by intervening with youth, ages 14-24, who have been charged with a crime or are at high risk of criminal behavior. Case managers and adult volunteer mentors work with the young people in the program.

Recruitment for REimage, which is run by KentuckianaWorks, focuses on the Russell, Shawnee and Park Hill neighborhoods of west Louisville, although eligible youth from any neighborhood can participate. Young people wanting to enroll in the program or adults who would like to volunteer as mentors can call 574-4115 or apply online at

“These training programs are designed to quickly get people prepared and employed in business sectors where there is high demand and a clear path to job and wage growth,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks, the region’s workforce development agency.  “The bottom line is helping people succeed, and helping our community and region succeed.”

“Identifying and helping minorities secure jobs that will improve their family’s standard of living is a strong focus for the Louisville Urban League,” said Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of LUL.  “This often requires developing training programs and initiatives that can prepare minority groups to seize opportunities.”

Kentuckiana Builds orientations and classes:

  • Orientation: Thurs., Dec. 29,, 5:30 p.m. at Louisville Urban League, 1535 W. Broadway
  • Orientation: Thurs., Jan. 5, 10 a.m. at Louisville Urban League
  • Jan. 23 – evening class begins at Nia Center, 2900 W. Broadway
  • Feb. 6 – daytime class begins at Nia Center

M-TEC manufacturing classes in 2017:

  • 3 – 13 at the NIA Center, 2900 W. Broadway
  • 13 – 24 at the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center, 160 Rochester Drive,
  • March 6 – 17 at the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center

CPT manufacturing classes in 2017: 

  • 9 – Feb. 3 at the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center
  • March 6 – 31 at the NIA Center
  • May 1 – 26 at the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center