For most of us, life is beginning to return to normal after an unprecedented year. Mandates are loosened, businesses are opening and people are gathering again. However, many Americans are facing the hard reality that their job has yet to return.
If you are one of many Kentuckians in need of employment after the 2020 layoffs, you are not alone. At the height of the pandemic, nearly a quarter of the Kentucky workforce was forced to file for unemployment. Although many jobs have returned in recent months, thousands of Kentuckians are still struggling to get back on their feet. If you or someone you know fits into this category, a visit to the Kentucky Career Center-Lincoln Trail (KCC-LT) will have the resources you need to find fulfilling, compatible employment.
My name is Ronald Booker, and, like many Americans, I was laid off during the height of the pandemic. Entering the job market for the first time in three decades was terrifying to say the least. I was fortunate to work with KCC-LT, and the team there helped me understand my options.
My background is in manufacturing, however, I found that it was in my best interest to pursue my commercial driver's license (CDL) to receive comparable income and benefits. My career center representative was extremely helpful, encouraging me to sign up for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant that covered my costs to train as a CDL driver through Elizabethtown Community & Technical College (ECTC).
The process involved an incredible amount of paperwork and keeping track of it was even more difficult with the pandemic in full swing. KCC-LT helped me keep everything organized and on time, taking a lot of stress off my plate. Starting over at age 57 was not an easy prospect, but KCC-LT helped give me a path forward.
Today, I have an awesome job working as a terminal manager for the Musket Corporation, a branch of Love’s Incorporated that specializes in commodity supply, trading and logistics across North America. After working here for less than a year, I am happy to report I am already earning more than I did in my previous company after working there 33 years. The benefits are great, and I genuinely enjoy my job. Earning a CDL is a smart way to advance your career at almost any age.
KCC-LT helped me reach my happy ending, and I highly encourage anyone else feeling overwhelmed by reentering the job market to reach out. Through the WIOA grant, KCC-LT can help individuals in our area receive the funding they need to get started on a new career path. If you are considering earning your CDL, I can’t recommend the program at ECTC enough. My instructor was fantastic, taking time with each student to teach us numerous tricks and tips for getting through our test.
The WIOA grant is also available to those interested in technical work, manufacturing, health care and more. After obtaining the grant and attending courses, Lincoln-Trail citizens can return to KCC-LT for employment assistance. Local companies know that they can rely on KCC-LT to find quality, reliable employees, and as a result, they are often in the loop about new positions and can give you a leg up in getting hired.
The pandemic may have derailed your vision for employment, but it doesn’t have to destroy it. Take it from me, a great opportunity exists in this region for you. You just have to find it - and you don’t have to do it alone. Get in touch with KCC-LT today for help getting back on your feet. To learn more, contact the career center today.