As our region experiences rapid expansion in the job market as a result of emerging large-scale developments and ancillary growth, fostering a skilled and adaptable workforce is crucial. In order to address this challenge and others like it, apt funding and coordination is needed for regional workforce development efforts. Recognizing this need, the federally-funded Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) provides a comprehensive framework to enhance employment opportunities and empower individuals across the nation, including here in the Lincoln Trail region.
Signed into law on July 22, 2014, WIOA is landmark legislation aimed at modernizing the workforce development system in the U.S. It replaced the previous Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and ushered in a more integrated and outcomes-driven approach to addressing the employment needs of individuals, employers and communities. The program targets adults, out-of-school youth and dislocated workers.
The primary objective of WIOA is to assist job seekers in accessing a wide range of employment, education, training and support services, enabling them to thrive in the labor market. Additionally, the act aims to connect employers with the skilled workforce necessary to remain competitive in the global economy. Under WIOA, local workforce development boards, such as the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board (LTWDB), play a central role in coordinating and implementing employment and training services in their respective regions.
LTWDB is committed to providing a wide range of employment and training services through the framework established by WIOA. Working in collaboration with elected officials, the board seeks to fulfill a multifaceted role as strategic analysts, innovators, investors, brokers, collaborators, and conveners in the region. Made up of 23 members, the board serves the eight counties of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Area, including Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties.
One of the key functions of LTWDB is the oversight of Kentucky Career Center - Lincoln Trail (KCC-LT) locations. These centers serve as valuable resources, offering career counseling, job search assistance, training opportunities and connections to local employers. With locations in Elizabethtown, Bardstown, Lebanon and Leitchfield, KCC-LT tailors services to individual needs and provides ongoing support throughout the employment journey.
KCC-LT, in collaboration with local partners, also offers various specialized programs to address specific workforce needs. These include in-person and virtual job fairs, apprenticeship programs, on-the-job training, incumbent worker training, and support for dislocated workers. By aligning training programs with the demands of local industries, KCC-LT ensures that individuals acquire the skills necessary for sustainable employment and companies have access to a qualified workforce.
Through LTWDB’s dedicated implementation of WIOA's provisions, individuals have access to the support necessary to thrive in the workforce, while employers benefit from a well-prepared talent pool. As our region continues to grow, this will continue to be the focus of the board.
Nine years on, WIOA remains a vital tool in ensuring that the region's workforce remains adaptable, competitive and ready to seize emerging opportunities. By investing in workforce development, the Lincoln Trail area is setting the stage for sustained economic growth and prosperity for years to come.
To learn more about resources available through KCC-LT and funded by WIOA, visit https://ltcareercenter.org.
Trish Niles, Human Resources Manager for Mid Park Inc., serves as Chair of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. She can be reached at TNiles@mid-park.com.