A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ashli Watts: State businesses are stepping up in the fight against COVID-19; we will get through this

I don’t think any of us could have imagined what has transpired over the last week. The coronavirus has not only plagued the world as a public health pandemic, but it has very quickly devastated our economy and upended our normal business and daily routines. Our new reality includes shocking statistics like more than 9,000 people filing for unemployment insurance benefits in Kentucky in a single...

Ashli Watts: State businesses are stepping up in the fight against COVID-19; we will get through this

I don’t think any of us could have imagined what has transpired over the last week. The coronavirus has not only plagued the world as a public health pandemic, but it has very quickly devastated our economy and upended our normal business and daily routines. Our new reality includes shocking statistics like more than 9,000 people filing for unemployment insurance benefits in Kentucky in a single...

Commentary: Legislation shows Kentuckians path to long-term recovery for substance use disorders

By Ashli Watts and Jennifer Hancock Special to KyForward In communities across Kentucky, substance use disorders have taken a tremendous toll. Every day we are confronted with new data, reports and headlines that remind us of addiction’s staggering ripple effect.   But we cannot forget that behind the numbers, charts, graphs and television clips are real individuals who are suffering. They are our...

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Leaky Bucket update shows state still struggling to slow spending

Kentucky continues to struggle to slow state spending in key areas that are diverting funds from investments in education, according to a new report from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. The Leaky Bucket: 10 Years Later, released Tuesday, is an update of the Chamber’s original report that identified corrections, Medicaid and public employee benefits as major budget leaks that were consuming tax...

Commentary: New generation set to lead Kentucky as torch is passed and challenges remain

By Ashli Watts and OJ Oleka Special to KyForward In 1960, as the American people entered a new year and, notably, a new decade, the electorate chose a new face to serve as its president. As the youngest president ever elected, John F. Kennedy’s historic victory signaled that a new generation of leadership was ready to serve. He would say so himself in his inaugural address: “Let the word go forth...

Kentucky Business-Education Roundtable sets 2020 priorities; includes four central goals

The Kentucky Business-Education Roundtable will push for key initiatives to support education and workforce development during the 2020 General Assembly, according to Kentucky Chamber of Commerce CEO Ashli Watts. The Roundtable, convened by the Chamber, is a group of public- and private-sector leaders working collaboratively on a long-term plan to fuel improvements in the state’s education attainment...

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce releases legislative agenda detailing priorities for 2020 General Assembly

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday released its 2020 Legislative Agenda detailing the legislative priorities of the business community for the upcoming session of the Kentucky General Assembly. (Click to view full report) The Chamber’s legislative agenda is developed by several policy councils comprised of member businesses with final approval given by the organization’s Board of Directors....

Ky. Chamber of Commerce unveils new workers’ comp program to reduce rates for businesses

In an effort to help businesses manage costs of employee benefits, the Kentucky Chamber has announced a partnership with ClearPath Mutual to offer its member’s workers’ compensation insurance at a reduced rate. “Our organization is dedicated to creating opportunities for Kentucky businesses. We have partnered with ClearPath Mutual on this workers’ compensation program to help our members’...

American Water vice president Nick Rowe named 2020 chair of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Nick Rowe, American Water Southeast Division senior vice president and Kentucky American Water president, has been elected to serve as chairman of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for the 2020 term. Rowe succeeds Paul Thompson, chairman, president and CEO of LG&E and KU Energy, whose term expired September 30. Since joining American Water in 1987, Rowe has held numerous management positions within...

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce initiative to help small businesses manage health care costs

With health care costs hitting small employers particularly hard, many Kentucky organizations have found themselves struggling to offer health benefits to their employees. The latest health plan offered through the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce aims to solve that problem through a new type of health plan that allows multiple smaller employers to join together to achieve savings. The health plan, called...

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce selects Ashli Watts of Frankfort as President and CEO

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has named Ashli Watts of Frankfort as President and CEO of the state’s largest business association after an eight-month national search. She will take office on Nov. 1, succeeding Dave Adkisson, 66, who is retiring after serving 15 years in the position. Watts, 37, currently is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the Chamber, where she has led the organization’s...

Commentary: Skilled-workers law would be a boon for Kentucky businesses, say Chamber executives

By Dave Adkisson, Brent Cooper, Kent Oyler and Bob Quick Special to KyForward Earlier this year in a speech discussing immigration, former President George W. Bush declared Americans need to “dial down the rhetoric, put politics aside and modernize our immigration laws.” The Kentucky business community agrees. Kentucky businesses know we need to get past the rhetoric and divisiveness of the issue...

First participants graduate Harvesting Hope pilot program to help women in recovery learn job skills

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A pilot program in Berea where women in recovery learn job skills through farming saw its first batch of graduates this month. Harvesting Hope is a partnership between Sustainable Berea and Liberty Place, a recovery center for women in Richmond, along with several local businesses. Program director Cheyenne Olson said many people might be surprised by how much...

Deep study finds only 36% affected by Ky’s proposed Medicaid work rule aren’t meeting them already

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Gov. Matt Bevin says “hundreds of thousands” of able-bodied adult Kentuckians on Medicaid should be working but choose not to. But when his new Medicaid “community engagement” rules were set to kick in last July, only about 48,000 people on the program were short of meeting the requirements, according to a study of Medicaid records and...

Beth Davisson: Employers have important role in combating Kentucky’s opioid epidemic

Kentucky employers have a growing front-line awareness of the devastating impact the opioid epidemic is having on our state. They know that this epidemic is more than a public health issue. It is also a serious workforce issue that must be addressed – with employers playing a key role – if they are going to meet their challenges of finding and retaining workers. As Jonathan Copley, CEO of Aetna...

Ky. Chamber urges employers to update policies, lobby for reduced penalties during opioid summit

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is calling on the state’s business community to update its drug and alcohol policies to bring more help to their employees who suffer from addiction, and keep working to get state legislators to downgrade criminal penalties for simple drug possession. At an “opioid summit” in Lexington June 24, the business lobby also announced that its Kentucky Chamber...

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson announces plans to retire in October

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Adkisson will retire effective October 2019 after a long tenure at the state’s business advocacy organization, the Chamber announced Thursday. A nationwide search for Adkisson’s replacement will begin immediately. Under Adkisson’s leadership, the Kentucky Chamber has doubled in size, increased its staff to 40 professionals including a team of...

Commentary: Business and education leaders set four urgent goals for the coming decade

By Dave Adkisson and Aaron Thompson Kentucky must aggressively up its game if we’re going to compete for talent and quality jobs in today’s international economy. Top-flight education and the workforce it produces are key factors in the success of the state and its citizens, but we are struggling to educate and train enough people to be productive and responsible citizens and employees. The struggle...

Commentary: Consensus emerging behind reforming Kentucky’s troubled criminal justice system

By Dave Adkisson and Jason Bailey Special to KyForward Kentucky’s skyrocketing incarceration trendlines are bringing worry lines to legislators’ faces in Frankfort.  There is, however, a growing consensus and hope among various stakeholder groups, including jailers, the chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, civil rights advocates, prosecutors, think tanks, the business community and other...

Georgetown College announces Adkisson, Mills to head 2019 Board of Trustees leadership team

The 2019 leadership team for the Georgetown College Board of Trustees has been announced. Dave Adkinson Dave Adkisson, Class of 1973, becomes Chairman, and Bob Mills, Class of 1967, Vice-Chairman on January 1, 2019. Each will serve a one-year term. Adkisson, a trustee since 2014, is currently President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Commonwealth’s largest business association. As...