Update from the Workforce Crisis Task Force

April 11, 2018

The Workforce Crisis Task Force continues to engage new members each week.  To get involved or to get the latest updates via our newsletter, please email info@strategymatters.org.

In March, the three subcommittees of the Task Force met (some in multiple locations) to move forward on initiatives which can support increased labor force participation region-wide. Here is an update on what came out of those meetings, with some next steps.

GROWING BUSINESS INVESTMENT

We had three meetings of employers in March (in Elizabethtown, Springfield and Leitchfield). Across the board, businesses know that limited access to child care is creating major barriers for their current and potential workforce. Here are some of the steps we’re taking to address that.

  1. Creating Flexible Savings Account options for employees to use pre-tax earnings to pay for child care. This can save employees $1,400-$2,000 annually (that’s like a raise, right?), and might save the business on FICA and other taxes as well. Learn more here.
  2. Helping employees connect to the best child care options at the best prices in their area. Just offering information may be very helpful. Start by sending them here.
  3. Considering how to expand the child care options overall. There is a working group in Elizabethtown seeking to start a new child care center. This is a long-term solution, and we can definitely use more members in our working group. If interested in joining, please email info@strategymatters.org with “E-Town Child Care Working Group” in the subject line to be added to our mailing list and invited to future conference calls, meetings and other development work.

We are interested to learn more about the demand for new child care options and the constraints that working parents face related to paying for those services. Please consider sending this short poll to all of your employees so we can continue to learn about how to resolve this barrier to hiring the talent you need for your company.

Finally, we want to share important news from this committee’s meeting in Leitchfield. Circles USA is a program to help people get out of poverty and support the community's efforts to build a better workforce. To learn more about Circle USA in Grayson County, check out this video!

UNLOCKING LOCAL POTENTIAL

The Unlocking Local Potential (ULP) subcommittee’s primary charge is to retain the region’s young talent by connecting them to meaningful work experiences. The subcommittee co-chairs, Jon Ballard, superintendent of Elizabethtown Independent Schools, and Dr. Juston Pate, ECTC president, hosted the inaugural meeting of the Unlocking Local Potential subcommittee, which included representation from all Lincoln Trail counties. Superintendents and CTE coordinators came together with two specific goals:

  1. Identify the barriers/challenges you face in providing or expanding work based learning opportunities (WBLOs) for students (i.e. transportation, graduation requirements, etc.).
  2. And, specifically, what policies, at the local level, prevent you from introducing WBLO’s in your school or district?

Mary Taylor, Industry Training and Development Specialist at the Kentucky Department of Education attended to hear input and recommendations that will inform policy change.

The meeting also presented an opportunity for shared learning around best practices, in implementing and sustaining successful partnerships that provide rich learning experiences for students.

Click here for a link to the meeting report which outlines a data-driven approach to instituting work-based learning opportunities, as well as next steps for the committee.

REMOVING OBSTACLES

The Removing Obstacles Committee, chaired by Megan Stith of United Way of Central Kentucky and Dr. Donielle Lovell of Western Kentucky University, met in March to map the landscape of policy and programmatic obstacles that influence individuals’ decisions to stay out of or leave the workforce, or to participate at reduced rates. Building this understanding relied on the collective knowledge of committee members at this meeting, which included representatives from the business community, Tri-County United Way, Kentucky Re-entry Services, Hardin County Adult Education and the Transportation Authority of Central Kentucky. As a result, the removing obstacles committee honed in on three priorities:

  • Transportation- assessing current state of pilots that could be expanded, with possible policy recommendations linked to these immediate needs. Goal: develop a plan within six months for a work-related transportation collaboration
  • Medicaid Waiver implementation- preparing local agencies for the rollout of the Community Engagement requirement and other Waiver implications that will impact clients. Goal: host an event with nonprofits and representative(s) from Frankfort to inform stakeholders of the plan so a response can be coordinated
  • Policy- identify a policy priority at the state level that could be recommended for the 2019 legislative session. Goal: connect policy efforts across committees for a focused strategy that can be developed over the next year.

This group will be meeting again in April at Western Kentucky University - stay tuned here for the date and time! And, if you’d like to learn more or join this meeting, reach out to Megan Stith at mstith@unitedwayck.org.

The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail helps match job seekers with local employment and training opportunities. Our business solutions team offers employers of all sizes and industries personalized support to build a competitive workforce. We are an equal opportunity employer.
Program is funded with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I funds through the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board.
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