FRANKFORT – Gov. Matt Bevin and Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner announced today the launch of the second round of funding for the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative (WRSI). Applications for $34 million in funding are due by March 16.
The second round of bond funding is part of a $100 million statewide bond program aimed at developing a highly trained, modernized workforce in the Commonwealth to meet the needs of employers and promote sustainable incomes for Kentuckians. More than $65.5 million were awarded to 25 projects on Jan. 31 which will leverage nearly $150 million in improvements to Kentucky’s career and technical training facilities and equipment.
“We are building on a very successful first round of funding of the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative by offering another $34 million for projects from around the state that will elevate our workforce training capacity, make us more economically competitive and create more jobs,” said Secretary Heiner. “It is exciting to see our local community leaders in education, business and government working in partnership to propose workforce training projects that lead to high-demand, good-paying careers for our citizens.”
Launched in July 2016, WRSI infuses funds to expand career and technical education facilities and to upgrade equipment in those schools to current and future industry standards through local partnerships between private industry and educational institutions. The locally driven initiatives will train and educate workers to meet the workforce needs of Kentucky’s employers now and in the future.
The initiative was passed and funded by the General Assembly in the last biennial budget and is administered by the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet with support from the Cabinet for Economic Development. Proposals require at least a 10 percent match by local partners. Applications will propose locally developed projects that include the participation of a private employer, educational agency and other interested local and regional partners, so that the plan is tailored to the workforce and industry needs of the area.
The initiative is overseen by a 10-member board, which includes the secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, the secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development, the secretary of the Labor Cabinet, the chair of the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board, three employers nominated by the Governor, one member nominated by the speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives and one nominated by the president of the Kentucky Senate. Technical support is provided by the staff of the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.
“Many Kentucky communities are already working on their proposals for the second round of funding for the Work Ready Skills Initiative. After selecting the first 25 projects in January, I’m looking forward to seeing the innovative plans that local partnerships between private industry and educational institutions are putting together to meet the needs of Kentucky’s employers and provide sustainable incomes for Kentuckians,” Heiner said.
For more details on the Work Ready Skills Initiative or to download an application, visit the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet website at http://EducationCabinet.ky.gov/KY-Work-Ready-Skills/.