New report shows pivotal success, record year from KCTCS in addressing Kentucky’s workforce development

By Tom Lally, Building Kentucky

According to a new report on enrollment and workforce development, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System achieved unprecedented results to address immediate workforce needs in Fiscal Year 2023. Building on the previous record year, KCTCS partnered with 248 companies throughout Kentucky to offer customized training to meet the critical need for skilled workers as the Commonwealth’s economy booms.

Nearly $6 million was allocated for customized employee training activities in Fiscal Year 2023, resulting in approximately 100 new employer partnerships, based on data from the new report. KCTCS also renewed 150 partnerships from the previous year, the most on record.

These needed investments are made possible by the KCTCS-TRAINS fund, designated by the Kentucky General Assembly to support companies willing to invest in workforce development for their employees.

“Our workforce and economic development team at KCTCS has built strong relationships with Kentucky companies and partners,” said Workforce and Economic Development Vice President Jessie Schook. “As companies expand their talent pools with a growing number of available positions, they look to KCTCS as a partner to upskill incumbent workers as well as new hires. As a result of these customized training projects, KCTCS supports workers to adopt new technologies, develop emerging skills and ultimately improve their productivity and earning potential.”

Additionally, KCTCS, in partnership with Team Kentucky, launched Education First Employers, a network of companies that invest in educational attainment and lifelong learning. Furthermore, the system formed a career development taskforce to expand career exposure, exploration, and on-the-job experiences such as internships and apprenticeships.

To maintain economic stability, Schook emphasized the importance of educational institutions collaborating with employers to design innovative solutions that attract and retain talent while supporting ongoing skill development.

“Our goal is to help KCTCS students understand their options in the local labor market that align with their interests and aptitudes,” Schook explained. “We are strategically identifying opportunities for students to gain relevant experiences and increase their economic mobility.”

Of note, KCTCS’s Workforce Solutions division continues working with companies to offer customized training and related services that meet their immediate and long-term talent needs. Through the KCTCS-TRAINS fund, 248 companies have been supported with upskilling programs tailored to their unique business requirements, with training costs offset by up to 75%.

Schook encourages companies that have not yet connected with KCTCS to explore how the system can support their workforce needs. Collaboration between employers and educators is vital to effectively fill open positions and drive economic growth.

Learn more about how KCTCS is addressing workforce needs here.

Read the full KCTCS-TRAINS report here.  

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