Despite the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s disappointment with Gov. Steve Beshear’s decision to veto the public-private partnerships bill last month, Chamber president David Adkisson says the legislature passed a responsible budget.
During the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday morning, Adkisson emphasized the improvements to education funding in the budget.
“One of the good things that happened in the 2014 General Assembly is that they passed a pretty responsible budget this time," Adkisson said. "They got education funding back up to the 2008 level. Education funding had really kind of slipped behind during the recession.”
Adkisson said education and a well-trained workforce is the top priority for the Chamber. He said the increasing number of baby boomers retiring and an improving economy is creating a "skills mismatch" in Kentucky.
“We’ve got to produce more people with degrees, not just four-year degrees but we need to produce a lot of folks with two-year degrees and certifications that a community college can offer,” Adkisson said. “That’s the workforce of the future and, frankly, there’s a big gap between the skills that are currently available in the workforce and some of the jobs that are available from businesses.”
The Kentucky Chamber is a proponent of the recently-implemented Common Core standards. Adkisson said businesses are in favor of the standards and that polls show teachers approve of Common Core.
Adkisson did express disappointment that higher education was cut by 1.5 percent, which will lead to high tuition costs.