Establishing strategies that create jobs and raise wage rates is the primary mission of economic development. And one very important driver of successful economic development is the quality and availability of a skilled workforce to meet the needs of current and potential employers. In fact, the availability of skilled labor is a major factor that helps business executives and economic development consultants identify the best locations for expansion and relocation.
East Kentucky Works is a 27-county coalition formed to conduct a workforce assessment to help us better understand the assets of our workforce and to determine how to market those assets to create more and better jobs for our residents. This analysis will explore a variety of issues related to the workforce in East Kentucky, including:
* Skill sets of the existing workforce
* Key demographic assets of the current workforce
* Compatible occupations for workers currently unemployed
* Employers’ assessment of workforce quality in the region
* Workforce education and training offerings that contribute to an ongoing pipeline of talent for area employers
The workforce analysis will be based on thorough research, including broad-based stakeholder input from people throughout the region that may be part of the East Kentucky workforce. Input from area residents will be a critical component of this study as our consultants at Boyette Strategic Advisors (BSA) seek to understand issues that impact employee skills, employment needs, barriers to employment and interests in training opportunities. Residents have the opportunity to participate in the study through an online survey, which can be accessed at http://boyette-sa.East-Kentucky-Works-Residents.sgizmo.com/s3/
This survey takes only a few minutes to complete, and we need a broad range of participants – those who are currently employed, as well as those who are seeking employment; those of all educational backgrounds and skill levels; and everyone from top management to entry-level employees. Residents will also have an opportunity to participate in a series of regional forums to discuss their desires related to employment and training opportunities. To find a forum in your area, visit EastKentuckyWorks.com.
In addition to the resident survey, BSA will also interview and survey employers throughout the region to assess the existing workforce, employer workforce needs, and how the region might better respond to those.
Following completion of all research, recommendations will be developed to enhance existing skills of the workforce, identify new opportunities to utilize those skills, and improve the quality and availability of workforce training opportunities to ensure that the East Kentucky workforce is prepared for high-value job opportunities.
This effort will provide a comprehensive look at the workforce in our region and help us confirm positive attributes of the workforce and identify opportunities to continue to enhance this critical resource in recruiting new businesses the region. But it will only be effective with your help. Please join us in this effort by participating in the resident survey and sharing your thoughts about our area’s workforce and job opportunities.
Executive Director of the Hazard Perry County Chamber of Commerce