Now more than ever, driving a community’s prosperity depends on effectively managing and leveraging workforce development opportunities.
In the past several years, the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board has focused on progressive efforts that have had a positive impact on our workforce, from strengthening partnerships across the bi-state Greater Louisville region to supporting our communities’ preparation for realignment at Fort Knox to helping transitioning veterans and military spouses connect with employers.
This group has also ushered in an overhaul of the statewide workforce development system, improving the demand-driven services offered to job seekers and employers through the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail. We are doing exactly the right thing by connecting and working more closely with employers and education providers to develop strategic programs that match the specific needs of our region. In other words, our training programs are teaching the skills that local employers need now, and our younger students are learning the skills they need to pursue successful careers in the future.
This work is clearly impacting our region’s workforce, our business community’s success and our residents’ quality of life. In fiscal year 2014 alone, our four career centers served more than 66,000 customers, providing job search and retraining services for job seekers and customized recruiting services for businesses, for example, under the leadership of the LTWIB.
I think of those serving the LTWIB as the conveners. They work to bring every facet of workforce development to the table. And the board members themselves bring a wide range of expertise to the table.
“The personal day-to-day interests of each board member are different, but they come together with a common interest,” said board chairman Mo Miller. “We want people with diverse backgrounds and diverse business interests involved. That variety of perspective makes our services more comprehensive and valuable to the communities we serve.”
The board’s majority represents the business community, with industry sectors ranging from automotive manufacturers to healthcare to agriculture to banking and real estate. Other equally important members represent education, economic development and community organizations.
In the coming months, this board will lead the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) signed into law last year.
With this transition, the LTWIB will become the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. It will be a smaller, more nimble group of leaders from across our eight-county region who are selected by elected officials. Empowered by WIOA, the board will tailor services to meet local job training and re-employment needs.
“Serving this board is rewarding work,” Miller said. “It presents an opportunity to efficiently manage the federal funds allocated to our area for the distinct purposes of economic development, job creation and job training.”
We know employees and entrepreneurs must be prepared for the 21st century workplace. We know businesses rely on talent more than anything else to compete globally and grow. And we know our communities must develop a skilled workforce pipeline that will attract business investment and create jobs.
All this will take leadership and vision from across our region, especially from local workforce investment board members.
“Those serving the board are recognized as people who have realized opportunities and made an investment in the community, and the work they do for the board is a way to ensure opportunities for others in their community,” Miller said. “It’s a chance to give back, and it’s the best of all worlds.”
LaRue County Judge-Executive Tommy Turner is the chief elected official of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board, selected by judge-executives in the eight-county Lincoln Trail region to serve as a link between the board and local government. He can be reached at (270) 358-4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.