A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

KY Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and KWIB establishes KentuckyWorks Collaborative

Gov. Matt Bevin, in partnership with the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) and the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB), signed an executive order establishing the KentuckyWorks Collaborative to guide the Commonwealth’s workforce efforts through statewide implementation of KWIB’s strategic plan, Kentucky Work Ready: An Urgent Call to Action.

“The creation of the KentuckyWorks Collaborative will bring together stakeholders from key sectors throughout the Commonwealth to implement the carefully crafted strategic plan from KWIB,” said Gov. Bevin.

“It will also develop new and enhanced approaches to building and strengthening our 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.”

The KentuckyWorks Collaborative will be comprised of 18 members representing state and federal agencies, local workforce boards, and employers. Each member represents an agency that provides job training, counseling, career development, and technical assistance services to Kentucky employers or job seekers.

“The Collaborative allows Kentucky to guide workforce initiatives by eliminating challenges to improving workforce participation and retention through the alignment of resources among workforce development partners,” said Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Derrick K. Ramsey. “This alignment affords us with the opportunity to more accurately tailor career pathways, education, and training to specifically meet employer demand and place Kentuckians on a path of self-sufficiency and competitive wages.”

The KentuckyWorks Collaborative will guide the state’s workforce strategy by:

Setting a common strategic direction with an urgent call to action to guide workforce development activities statewide;

Prioritizing actions attainable and measurable actions through the application of performance metrics;

Increasing and improving communication and collaboration among employers, education and training providers, regional workforce boards and areas, and state and local government organizations; and

Identifying challenges and opportunities to improve the workforce system through an increase in workforce participation and retention, attainment of wages that promote self-sufficiency, and the provision of high-quality, accessible, effective workforce training programs targeted to areas of growth within the Commonwealth.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 requires a state workforce development board to assist in the development of a state plan to enhance the capacity and performance of the workforce development system, align and improve the Commonwealth’s workforce programs and investments, and promote economic growth. KWIB developed a strategic plan to examine the state’s workforce strategy and to develop recommendations and initiatives to support a continuum of training, preparation, and investment for Kentuckians.

KWIB’s strategic plan creates a common direction for Kentucky’s workforce development efforts by aligning assets statewide to support Kentuckians in achieving and sustaining economic self-sufficiency by focusing on the following goals:

Actively engage employers to drive Kentucky’s workforce development system;
Align and integrate elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education and adult education to provide lifelong learning opportunities for Kentuckians;
Increase Kentucky’s workforce participation rate; and
Focus available resources on the most effective initiatives in order to improve the return on Kentucky’s workforce investment.

The Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board is 27-member business and industry-led advisory workforce development board that acts as a vehicle to reposition the workforce system and establish a strategic direction for workforce development in the Commonwealth.

“As a business-led organization, the KWIB set out to developing a long-term strategic plan that recognizes the direct connection between long-term economic prosperity and a fully integrated, effective education, human services and workforce development system,” said Hugh Haydon, KWIB Chair.

“While the KWIB will remain focused on driving and monitoring plan progress, we rely on the Commonwealth’s governmental and allied entities for plan implementation. The Collaborative created by the executive order will bring these entities together in a structure that brings accountability and assures goals and initiatives identified in the plan remain top priorities.”

The KentuckyWorks Collaborative will meet in February to provide agency support of the KWIB’s efforts to implement the strategic plan. Members will analyze data retrieved from the state’s first interactive dashboard to measure the effectiveness of the ten local workforce areas. Kentucky’s interactive dashboard will go live on Feb. 1.

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