Labor Cabinet Secretary Ramsey believes time is right for technical career ready paths for students

06/11/2017 08:00 AM

COVINGTON — Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey says it’s time to put students on a career path that matches their abilities instead of the traditional push in past decades of sending most to college.

Ramsey, who was in northern Kentucky on Thursday for the Bridging the Talent Gap survey results, was the keynote speaker for the event and told business leaders and educators that the days of assuming all kids should go to college are over because it’s clear that for many, it’s not the best move.

“Sixty percent of our young people each year go on to college, and of that, only 20 percent graduate,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey says that the average age of a skilled laborer in the U.S. today is 58 because of the push away from a trade and skills education pathway in recent decades.

Ramsey believe it’s time to offer students who don’t have an interest in attending a traditional four-year college a career path to put them on the road to success.

“That’s where the apprenticeship notion comes into play because now you have the opportunity to have a person that can get on-the-job training as well as get their class work in so they can develop these skills,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said that to combat the skills gap, which has prevented employers from finding qualified applicants to fill their job openings, he and the Bevin administration have made it a priority to put things in place to help identify the best route for a student to take based on his or her abilities and interests.

“We’re going to get our middle schools and our high schools back involved, and we’re going to get all hands on deck to remedy thus problem,” Ramsey said.

Overall, the survey results showed that while businesses feel good about their economic outlook, they still struggle to find people to fill positions because of the skills gap.


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