The Bluegrass Business Boom: KCTCS is building bigger businesses and better employees

By Dominic Manecke, Building Kentucky

Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) Workforce Solutions completed its highest-performing year ever, based on a new report on enrollment and workforce development. The first-of-its-kind report shows that KCTCS Workforce Solutions has logged its best year to date (since 2000), expanding institutional capacity to help meet the unprecedented needs companies across the Commonwealth face in retaining, recruiting, re-skilling and up-skilling their workforce.

Helping Kentucky businesses of all sizes

More than $7.1 million was allocated for customized employee training activities in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, up from $3.9 million the year before, according to the KCTCS Workforce and Economic Development Annual Report, the inaugural comprehensive synopsis of TRAINS activities among KCTCS Workforce Solutions departments. The report was released in connection with National Workforce Development Month, celebrated throughout September.

In addition, the report found that the number of TRAINS projects led by KCTCS Workforce Solutions ballooned from 117 to 240 in the last FY, new Workforce Solutions clients grew by 147% during that same period and enrollment jumped by 41% (up to 19,111).

KCTCS’s commitment to the Commonwealth

With labor shortages at historic levels, the need for a skilled workforce has never been more relevant, said KCTCS President Paul Czarapata.

He added that companies looking to up-skill current employees and train potential workers drove interest in the program and lauded the hard work and dedication of KCTCS faculty and Workforce Solutions staff in delivering fast, flexible and affordable training.

“This is mission one for us at KCTCS Workforce Solutions: helping to build our communities by creating a skilled and sustainable talent pipeline to support Kentucky businesses of all sizes,” said Czarapata. “We’re committed to ensuring companies in the Commonwealth can remain competitive, and proud to shine a light on these important activities in this report, both to enhance the transparency of these programs and to share the tremendous success of these initiatives made possible only by KCTCS administrators, educators and instructors.”

Customized training, customized solutions

Manufacturing was the top sector receiving services and funding under TRAINS, with $4,141,603 invested in 118 companies, and a total of 142 companies served through customized solutions. Other leading sectors included healthcare, logistics and business services.

The report also includes an overview of TRAINS dollars invested and total company commitment by local workforce area, as well as workforce development highlights of each KCTCS Workforce Solutions office.

Of note, TRAINS offsets the cost of customized training for incumbent worker up-skilling, pre-employment training, assessments and apprenticeship programs. KCTCS has expanded financial assistance now offsetting 75% (up from 50%) of a business’s costs associated with developing tailored talent pipeline initiatives.

With funding established by the Kentucky General Assembly, KCTCS is proud to deliver TRAINS-backed projects to help businesses across the Commonwealth equip their current and potential employees with the tools and on-the-job experience to succeed at work and beyond.

The full KCTCS Workforce and Economic Development Annual Report can be found here.

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