Two western Kentucky counties have been designated Work Ready Communities In-Progress. Governor Steve Beshear announced today that community, business, education, workforce, and economic development leaders from each county are developing their workforce by meeting education, skill, and digital literacy benchmarks.
Since beginning the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board and Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet's Work Ready Community certification process in August, the Ballard County Board of Education received a Public Education Achieves in Kentucky Award from the Kentucky School Board Association for aligning its curricula with the college and career readiness framework. The school system now ranks in the state’s top 6 percent for high school graduation and has seen a 30% increase in student dual-enrollment courses with local postsecondary education institutions.
“Ballard County was designated as a Kentucky Work Ready Communities In-Progress because of the excellent work that the Board of Education and our community has done to prepare our current and future workforce. As County Judge/Executive, I want Ballard County to be progressive and competitive, which is why we will continue working toward meeting all the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board’s benchmarks, which are very difficult to meet and few counties have achieved," Ballard County Judge/Executive Vickie Viniard said in a statement.
Since filing its Work Ready Community In-Progress application in December, Marshall County saw a steep increase in the number of citizens with National Career Readiness Certificates, jumping from 283 in December to 437 in January, thanks to the participation of the Marshall County High School senior class. Companies use the NCRC in their hiring process to measure applicant’s aptitude for work success.
“We’ve been considering pursuing Work Ready Communities designation for a while," Marshall County Community & Economic Development Director Josh Tubbs said in a statement. "We put together an excellent team that helped us organize our application and set goals in place that will allow us to quickly achieve full Work Ready Community designation in the very near future. I appreciate everyone who worked with us on the application because demonstrating that Marshall County has a quality workforce has always been and always will be a top priority for the county.”
Ballard and Marshall have three years to meet all criteria to be declared Work Ready Communities. To become a Work Ready Community a county must meet benchmarks in high school graduation rate, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development and digital literacy.
McCracken County is expected to be declared a Work Ready Community this summer after being designated a Work Ready Community In-Progress in 2012. Work Ready Community teams are forming in Carlisle and Hickman, led by each county's Judge/Executive.