The Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board (LTWDB) hosted its second annual Workforce Summit on Tuesday at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College’s main campus, gathering approximately 70 business leaders, educators and others to further develop the region’s strategy to increase labor force participation.
Members of the LTWDB Workforce Crisis Task Force presented details of work completed over the past year to move the eight-county region forward in three key areas: Unlocking Local Potential, Growing Business Investment and Removing Obstacles (to employment). Each of these areas has a direct impact on workforce participation, which is at
61.9 percent in the Lincoln Trail region, greater than the statewide participation of 59 percent, but less than the national rate of 62.8 percent.
“Our work is all about supporting the creation of new pathways into the workforce and, in turn, setting the conditions in which employers can find the talent they need to succeed and grow in the Lincoln Trail region,” said LTWDB member and task force chairman Jim Rachlin.
The Unlock Local Potential subcommittee is focused on connecting young talent with local employers through internships and other work-based learning opportunities (WBLOs). Students who participate in internships, co-ops or apprenticeships in the region are more likely to remain in the region, increasing the size and quality of the available workforce. More information about WBLOs is available at www.ltcareercenter.org/wblo.
The Grow Business Investment subcommittee is supporting employer efforts to help disconnected workers find and retain employment, and has advocated for bridge benefits, which allow for public assistance to decline gradually as an employee’s pay and benefits increase.
The Removing Obstacles subcommittee is focused on clearing pathways for those who face barriers to employment such as unreliable transportation and criminal records. The committee partnered with Central Kentucky Community Action earlier this year to host a poverty simulation that increased awareness of what it’s like to find a job and keep a job when you’re poor.
At the summit, facilitated by the LTWDB’s strategic planning partner Strategy Matters, participants provided valuable input about the task force’s work ahead.
“We are very excited to see the number of participants, particularly employers, grow as we move into the third year of the Workforce Development Board’s strategic plan,” said LTWDB Second Vice Chairwoman Trish Niles. “The issues impacting workforce participation are complex and require a multifaceted approach. The board is dedicated to the many efforts underway to manage the complicated issues that are causing labor shortages.”
In the last year, the task force has engaged 74 business community members, 52 education and training community members, 29 state office representatives and policy makers and 33 community and workforce development community members.
Employers and all organizations with a stake in workforce development are invited to join the Workforce Crisis Task Force’s efforts. For more information, contact Sherry L. Johnson, Associate Director at Lincoln Trail Area Development District, at 270-769-2393 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To keep up with the task force’s work, subscribe to its newsletter by emailing email@example.com.