Building better businesses by embracing the power of workforce development

By Dominic Manecke, Building Kentucky

September is National Workforce Development Month, a monthlong initiative highlighting the transformative power of workforce development on employers, employees, and companies across the Commonwealth and nation. 

As we celebrate, did you know that there are over 10 million job openings in the United States that remain unfilled according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s June 2021 report? Many of these jobs—especially in the advanced manufacturing, construction, and information technology sectors—are vacant because of a lack of well-qualified candidates.

Filling the gap

Jefferson Workforce Solutions is working overtime to fill the growing gap by preparing promising employees and students to succeed in these high-growth professions through the KY-TRAINS initiative.

Established by the Kentucky General Assembly to spur greater investment in employee workforce training and assessment services, KY-TRAINS provides funding to companies and corporate cooperatives to help offset the cost (75/25 match) of creating a customized curriculum. These cohorts equip current and potential employees with leadership skills and hands-on experience to succeed in their workplace and beyond. Companies participating in KY-TRAINS can also reapply year in and year out.

Building the business case

Equally as important is the fact that the program is good for a business’s bottom line.

Ask any hiring manager and they’ll tell you that recruitment and employee retention are among the costliest aspects of operating their business. KY-TRAINS helps alleviate this financial concern.

Studies have shown that 91 percent of individuals completing an apprenticeship program supported by KY-TRAINS funding remain with their sponsoring employer five years after completion. In addition, an International Data Corporation report found that when companies offer comprehensive training programs, they yield a 218 percent higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. Moreover, these same companies enjoy 24 percent higher profit margins.

That’s why local companies, including LG&E, General Electric, Ford, Texas Roadhouse, and many more, are continuing to participate in KY-TRAINS for five, up to 14+ years, and counting.

Final thoughts

It just makes sense: workforce development, in particular KY-TRAINS, is a win-win for employers, employees, AND the economy. No matter before, during, or after Workforce Development Month.  

To learn more about KY-TRAINS and how Jefferson Workforce Solutions can benefit your business, please visit: Also, be sure to follow them on LinkedIn for the latest information.      

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