We know that building a strong pipeline of skilled and available workers pays long-term dividends for employers and employees alike. In partnership with our business community, educators, and state and local leaders, Taylor County is proving its dedication to being among the best in initiating and implementing impactful workforce development initiatives.
Here are just a few of the ways we are making continuous investments in our workforce.
Stakeholder collaboration, assessment and meaningful strategic planning has resulted in Taylor County’s distinct designation as a certified Kentucky Work Ready Community. The status, awarded by the state’s workforce investment board, is an assurance to employers locating or expanding in the community that they will find the talent and skills necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the innovative technologies new jobs will require.
The state’s Work Ready Communities program – the most rigorous workforce certification program in the nation – has the ability to transform a community. It encourages counties to take a credible inventory of the current and future workforce, identify the gaps and carry out strategies to achieve a more knowledgeable, trained workforce.
To become certified, Taylor County had to meet criteria in six areas including high school graduation rates, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development and digital literacy. For more information about the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program, go to http://workready.ky.gov.
“Everything we aspire to economically is contingent on our communities having a skilled workforce that is ready and able to fulfill the needs of employers. Earning the Kentucky Work Ready Communities certification gives counties a competitive edge when businesses are looking for a new location or want to expand in Kentucky.”
– Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary
Taylor County’s workforce development efforts have most recently been elevated thanks to the award of a $2.375 million grant made to the Taylor County School District through the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative. Backed by a $100 million, state-led program, the competitive funds are designed to build a highly trained, modernized workforce to meet the needs of employers and promote sustainable incomes for Kentuckians.
Matching funds contributed through the participation of private employers, educational agencies and other interested local and regional partners helped secure the funds, which will result in expanded career and technical education facilities and upgraded equipment in the Taylor County school system. Additional program info can be found by visiting the Work Ready Skills Initiative website.
In late 2019, Taylor County Schools unveiled the Central Kentucky Career Academy, a newly remodeled facility designed to house expanded programming directly aligned with industry demand in the region. Once the largest elementary school in the state, the renovated property now encompasses approximately 20,000 square feet of learning space, accommodating students from across the district, as well as nearby Green County students.
The Central Kentucky Career Academy was made possible thanks to a state grant from the Kentucky Work-Ready Skills Initiative, as well as local community support. Career pathways offered include: Welding, Health Sciences, Computer Science, Agriculture, Business & Marketing, Family & Consumer Science, Aviation, Construction, Wood Manufacturing, Arts, Allied Health, Style Assist and ROTC. For more information about Taylor County Schools and the Central Kentucky Career Academy, visit https://www.taylor.k12.ky.us/.
Taylor County students wishing to pursue a degree in one of Kentucky’s fastest growing workforce industries may be eligible for a free education through the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program. Created in 2016 to meet the increasing demand for skilled workers in five of Kentucky’s most in-demand fields, including:
Students who do not yet have at least an associate degree can take up to 32 credit hours paid by the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship (WRKS) tuition free. The WRKS is a last dollar program that covers tuition and required fees not covered by federal financial grants or loans and third party scholarships. More information about the scholarship program can be found at www.WorkReadyKentucky.com.
The Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) is a partnership of regional manufacturers whose purpose is to implement dual-track, apprenticeship-style training that will create a pipeline of highly skilled workers through the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program (AMT).
Taylor County companies have access to one of 10 regional KY FAME chapters across the state, connecting manufacturers with high-achieving high school students and veterans to ensure an ongoing supply of well-trained employees. Participating companies provide part-time, hands-on work experience while local community colleges reinforce necessary skills with classroom experience specifically chosen by employers.
At the end of the program, students will have earned an associate degree in Applied Science in Industrial Maintenance Technology-Advanced Manufacturing Technician Track, certification as an Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) and two years of work experience – ready to enter your workforce full time with all the skills needed to succeed. For more information on this outstanding program, visit www.KyFAME.com.