As a resident and elected official within the Lincoln Trail region - comprised of LaRue, Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties - I see so much of which to be proud, and without hesitation, I include our region’s workforce development system among our points of pride.
The Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board leads our workforce development system, and I want to take this opportunity to applaud the leadership and skills this all-volunteer board brings to our region. In particular, I want to recognize Mo Miller, who in December completed five and a half years of service as chairman of the board.
Our region is held as the workforce development model to follow by many throughout the state. Under Mo’s leadership, ours was one of the first to be named a high-impact board by the state and our region was the first to earn certification for all its Kentucky Career Center locations.
Further, our region’s board is known for its commitment to earning a return on investment on the federal funds allocated to our region and for recognizing the critical role entrepreneurship plays in our region’s economy.
During Mo’s time as chairman, the board led the implementation of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, tailoring services to meet the specific needs of employers and job seekers in our region. An incredible amount of work was poured into this process, all to ensure the best possible services and programs would continue to develop a skilled talent pipeline that empowers our friends and families to find good jobs, helps employers find the talent they need to succeed and grow, and attracts new business investment.
Most recently, Mo led the board in the development of a strategic plan that addresses our region’s workforce supply crisis. Again, there’s a lot to be proud of in our region, and that includes a bright economic forecast, a growing list of amenities that help us retain and attract new residents and an emerging entrepreneurial community. However, we face the same workforce shortage as other communities across the state and the nation, and that shortage is a threat to our continued prosperity.
As new businesses relocate to our region and existing businesses continue to expand, the demand for talent increases. A surging number of retirements, particularly in skilled trades and other high-demand sectors such as healthcare, makes the need for talent even greater. But at the same time, a significant number of people in our region have opted out of the workforce.
Our workforce development board has taken the lead in convening all stakeholders to find new ways to bring those people back to the workforce. Implementation of the plan is underway, involving many of our region’s employers, from small local businesses to major manufacturers, as well as regional leaders in education, economic development and the nonprofit community.
As Mo will tell you, his tireless work on the board is a way to give back.
“The work of the board promotes opportunities for others, and that is exceptionally rewarding,” he said. “As a board member, you give back to the individual who benefits from training or services, but you also give back to entire communities that benefit from job growth and a healthy economy.”
A successful small business owner who was appointed to the board in 2005, he will continue to serve as a member.
State Rep. Dean Schamore began his term as chairman in December.
As the chief elected official of the Lincoln Trail Development Association, I’m thankful for both Mo Miller and Dean Schamore’s leadership and willingness to serve. We’ve enjoyed great success during Mo’s tenure as chairman. Looking forward, Schamore, as a successful business owner in our region as well as a member of our state legislature, affords us a perspective that many other workforce boards will envy.
LaRue County Judge-Executive Tommy Turner is the chief elected official of the Lincoln Trail Development Association, selected by judge-executives in the eight-county Lincoln Trail region to serve as a link between the workforce development board and local government. He can be reached at (270) 358-4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.