Workforce Summit: Improving Labor Participation

June 13, 2018

Jim Rachlin

The Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board (LTWDB) is hosting its first annual Workforce Summit at 1 p.m. on Monday, June 18, at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College’s main campus. At the summit, the board’s Workforce Crisis Task Force will share details of its ongoing efforts to improve the region’s labor participation rate and most importantly determine the next tangible steps to getting more people into the workforce. It’s vital work that community leaders across all sectors can and should support because a well-functioning workforce system is critical to greater economic growth and regional prosperity.

When I tell people that I serve on the workforce board, it is often met with a look of confusion to which I offer this explanation. The workforce board is charged with leading the region’s workforce system - a system that helps connect people seeking employment with employers seeking qualified workers.

It may sound simple, but with 40 percent of the working age adults in our region not working nor trying to find work, there is a lot to consider. What are the high demand occupations in the region? What skills do people need to possess to obtain employment? What training and education opportunities are available in the region to help job seekers develop those skills? What barriers are preventing otherwise qualified applicants from obtaining and keeping a job? Childcare? Transportation? The financial security that public assistance offers? That’s just the beginning of what we need to examine.

The agencies and organizations that play a role in addressing these complex issues are numerous. The LTWDB acts as the lead integrator and facilitator. Whether you are part of the business community, are an educator, represent a local non-profit organization, are an elected leader or simply a concerned engaged citizen, we invite you to attend the summit and play a role in implementing what, if done well, can serve as a national model and can also provide our region a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting new business opportunities.

Established in the fall of 2017, after a year-long strategic planning effort, the Workforce Crisis Task Force’s work thus far has been divided into three subcommittees:

  • Unlocking Local Potential. The Unlocking Local Potential subcommittee is primarily focused on retaining the region’s young talent by connecting them to meaningful work experiences, be it internships, apprenticeships or other work-based learning opportunities. We are excited that school districts from every county of the eight-county region are participating in this effort, but they cannot do it alone.
  • Removing Obstacles. This subcommittee has mapped 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. In doing so, they have established three priorities: 1) Transportation 2) Effective implementation of the new Medicaid Waiver program that requires community engagement to participate and 3) Developing legislative policy recommendation that help mitigate or remove barriers.
  • Growing Business Investment. This subcommittee of committed employers is focused on how businesses can collaborate to address key factors impacting labor participation and be among the region’s best places to work. Their work thus far has been focused on access to affordable, reliable childcare. From establishing Flexible Spending Accounts to expanding childcare options overall, local business leaders are at the table determining solutions.

The Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board and its Workforce Crisis Task Force are committed to taking action and seeing tangible results that help move people into the workforce and help our economy grow. We invite you to be a part of this important work that can help employers find and retain the talent they need, help attract more business to our region and help our region prosper.

Jim Rachlin is a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. He can be reached at

IF YOU GO: The Lincoln Trail Workfroce Development Board’s first annual Workforce Summit is at 1 p.m. Monday, June 18, at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College’s main campus. To RSVP, please go to






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 Labor Cabinet and the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board.
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