A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ashli Watts: Road to recovery depends on legal liability, unemployment fund, education/childcare

As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the road to Kentucky’s economic recovery will no doubt be longer than we would prefer, but the length of the journey will ultimately be decided by how we address three key issues: unemployment insurance, legal liability and the education and care for our children. Kentucky’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund now has a balance of $0. Mandated business...

Former Kentucky Chamber President Dave Adkisson recognized by national association

Following a successful career running chambers of commerce at both the local and state level, former Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson has been recognized by the national Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) with the “Life Member Award.” David Adkisson Historically called “Honorary Member,” this pinnacle award is bestowed by ACCE on those who retire after stellar...

Chamber president warns some employers could see major unemployment insurance tax increases

Kentucky’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund currently has a balance of $0. This comes as the Commonwealth has the highest unemployment rate in the nation and an unprecedented amount of benefits have been drawn throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Ashli Watts told legislators Thursday employers across the state are facing huge costs to replenish...

Kentucky Chamber launches statewide campaign to change stigma around substance use disorder

In an effort to help Kentuckians struggling with substance use disorder, assist businesses in developing recovery-friendly work environments, and engage Kentuckians interested in smart criminal justice reforms, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has announced the launch of “Kentucky Comeback,” a statewide initiative in partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The opioid epidemic has led to...

Horse care apprenticeship program registered in Kentucky; provides ‘earn and learn’ training

Through collaboration with employers and educational entities, a new horse care apprenticeship program has recently been registered with the Kentucky and United States Departments of Labor. This opportunity, aimed at providing “earn and learn” training in horsemanship, is an Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program for individuals interested in working in the horse industry. Given the...

Bill Thomason to retire as Keeneland President and CEO; Shannon Bishop Arvin named successor

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of 2020 after a decade with Keeneland Association, including eight years at the helm of the global racing and sales company. Shannon Bishop Arvin, who as a partner with Stoll Keenon Ogden (SKO) has served as corporate counsel to Keeneland since 2008 and as Secretary and Advisory Member of Keeneland’s Board...

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce ‘Who’s Hiring’ campaign identifies Fair Chance Employers

Finding employment is a critical part of an individual’s journey to recover from substance use disorder or re-enter society after serving a prison sentence. A good job offers income, stability and helps build self-esteem, feelings of self-sufficiency and a sense of independence. To help lessen the stress a job search can create for people in recovery or who were recently released from prison, the...

Ky. Chinese American Association, LBX and Aetna Better Health raise $20,000 to purchase PPE

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has been coordinating efforts to support Kentucky’s medical professionals by collecting critical personal protective equipment. On Sunday, they announced that their members, including the Kentucky Chinese American Association (KYCAA), LBX Company LLC and Aetna Better Health of Kentucky have collectively raised more than $20,000 to supply medical equipment for Kentucky-based...

Kentucky Distillers’ Association, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to provide sanitizer to businesses

As Gov. Andy Beshear outlined the plan for Phase 1 of reopening Kentucky’s economy on Wednesday, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce are partnering to help businesses make sure they have the hand sanitizer needed to protect Kentuckians as they reopen. In the last few weeks, members of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association have produced and donated more than 125,000...

Chamber of Commerce survey of state businesses details employer expectations as economy reopens

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce surveyed 443 businesses across the Commonwealth in attempts to illustrate the virus’s impact on the business community. The Chamber invited businesses from across the state to provide their feedback over a 10-day period from April 10-April 20. The majority of responses came from small businesses with more than 65 percent of surveys...

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...