JKentucky launched its Work Ready Communities initiative in 2012. To date, 75 of the state’s 120 counties have joined the program, which was developed by business leaders, education leaders, and economic development experts.
Only a few states have begun certifying counties as “work-ready” based on the quality of their labor force. Kentucky has one of the most rigorous certification programs in the nation. Certification requires that counties must meet a two-year commitment that includes gathering local support from education and business leaders as part of the application for a Kentucky Work Ready Community designation. Counties must meet requirements in six areas, including high school graduation rate, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development, and digital literacy.
“When we look at the role work force plays in corporate decision-making, we see a common theme — that a well-trained work force is critical to where companies choose to locate or expand,” says Erik Dunnigan, commissioner for the Kentucky Department for Business Development. “The Kentucky Work Ready Communities certification assures companies that we’ve aligned our education and economic assets to provide the most qualified talent.”
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