Help Wanted Kentucky aims to steer attention to high-demand jobs and scholarship opportunities

05/24/2017 04:58 PM

LOUISVILLE – State officials are hoping to get the word out about the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program, announcing a new website and text-messaging line Wednesday that will provide insight into high-demand fields.

Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner unveiled the Help Wanted Kentucky initiative alongside Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Jay Box and UPS Air District Vice President Joe Boyle at the UPS WorldPort Global Operations Center.

The website, helpwantedky.com, covers five employment sectors – health care, business and information technology, construction, transportation and logistics, and advanced manufacturing – and includes potential jobs in those fields. It also includes information on the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program, which provides free tuition for up to 32 credit hours of study in those five fields, and those interested in the initiative can text JOBSKY to 66186.

As more jobs require advanced degrees and certifications, Heiner said students need to aim beyond simply graduating from high school.

“If you talk to people that track these kind of things and project out on the trajectory we’re on, they say that within eight years, by 2025, that 80 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require some education past high school,” he said. “You know, we’re worried about the narrowing of the middle class, and the way to counteract that, to provide a great living for individuals, is that they take their education past high school.”

Box said the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program benefits those coming straight from high school as well as working adults who hope to start new careers or advance their current ones.

“We have thousands that aren’t even looking for work, and why? In many cases it’s because they don’t have the skill sets to get that job,” Box said. “But this program gives them that opportunity. They don’t have to worry about even filling out all the necessary forms. They can come to us, we can get them this scholarship, they can get their tuition paid for and get into a short program, get educated and move on.”

Chelsea Smith, of Louisville, recently graduated from Jefferson Community and Technical College’s aviation maintenance program and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in aerospace technology.

She said she would have jumped at the opportunity offered through the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship had it been available when she graduated from high school.

“These scholarships that are now being made available are going to be huge for students, and I think the biggest thing will be the public awareness about the scholarships,” she said after Wednesday’s press conference.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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