Workforce development continues to be a challenge in Kentucky

02/07/2018 05:09 PM

FRANKFORT – Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner told members of the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education and Workforce Development on Wednesday that a skills gap remains in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, particularly when it comes to middle skill jobs.

Heiner noted that currently, well over 100,000 jobs in Kentucky have gone unfilled because of a skills gap in the states workforce.

“There are over 130,000 open jobs in Kentucky, and a lot of these jobs may have more than two or three positions open for that job,” Heiner said. “Probably the actual number may approach 200,000 if some jobs have, you know, they’re looking for five people.”

One program Heiner praised in trying to attack the states workforce deficiencies is the Work Readiness Skills Initiative, a new $100 million statewide bond program is aimed at developing a highly trained, modernized workforce in the Commonwealth to meet the needs of employers and promote sustainable incomes for Kentuckians.

“We saw communities come together, private sector, local elected officials, local schools, postsecondary, coming together, putting proposals together how to train in a facility students by day and adults by night,” Heiner said.

Heiner also praised other programs which he feels are beginning to make a difference including At-Risk Dropout Prevention, in which the governor allocated $4 million in the biennium budget as well as $2 million for the Local Workforce Area Performance Incentive Funds.

One area where Heiner sees potential is the newly created 1115 Medicaid waiver in which able-bodied persons would have to get job training as part of their Medicaid payments.

“If we’re really going to move the needle for adults and families, we have to connect with adult populations in Kentucky who are not going to work,” Heiner said. “We’re excited about this new opportunity to move for the unemployment office to a job employment coaching services.”

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at



  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on February 07, 2018 07:06 PM :

    Can Work Be Required in the Medicaid Program? Nicole Huberfeld, J.D. New England Journal of Medicine.

  • AllPainNoGain wrote on February 08, 2018 08:54 AM :

    Another article sponsored by the Republican Party of KY. Did you even attend the committee hearing? There is zero data demonstrating that the last $100 million slush fund for Hal resulted in anything. In addition, the Governor recommended another $100 million in this budget and another $8 million in dropout prevention! If you attended the meeting you would know that the committee chair, Huff ®, asked about these issues and Heiner couldn’t even answer the questions. He presented data from 2008 related to the $8million gift request for dropout prevention and couldn’t even talk about the educational landscape since the dropout age was raised to 18. It was a complete joke and a waste of taxpayer money. If this republican led legislature gives that fool this money when the state is practically broke then they are even bigger fools…but hopefully justice will prevail and Hal will be sent packing with his tail between his legs (you know like in every single election he has even participated in).

    Hal Heiner has proven himself to be one of the biggest disappointments in this administration…and that is saying something. He has no authority to do anything. He is in charge of a Cabinet that relatively speaking has no purpose. It’s a waste of taxpayer money to allocate funds in our state budget just so Hal will have something to do. The $100 million slush fund is nothing more than play money for Hal to buy favor in Kentucky…and, sadly for him, the return on that investment hasn’t been very good. No one liked him before he gave the last $100 million and no one likes him now.

    And that $8 million for dropout prevention? Well, my guess is that they are trying to sneak in some money for private schools. Hal couldn’t even tell us a straight answer on what he would do with that money. Pathetic.

  • Heza Putz wrote on February 08, 2018 10:27 AM :

    It’s hard to sneer and smile at the same time but Heiner has it down.

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