LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 20, 2018) — The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, announced Wednesday that it has partnered with the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center’s statewide Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) initiative.
As one of three state chambers of commerce chosen by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to pilot this initiative, the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center project will focus on creating a talent pipeline of qualified candidates for jobs in the fields of manufacturing, healthcare, construction and more. Over the next two years, the project will work with these key industries to develop strategies to meet Kentucky’s growing workforce issues.
Recognizing that the horse industry is a unique and critical part of Kentucky’s economy, with an economic impact of nearly $4 billion annually and responsible for more than 80,000 jobs, KEEP and the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center embarked on this partnership to address the job needs within the industry across the state.
Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s executive vice president who oversees the operations of the organization, said, “During my tenure at KEEP, we have been focused on the economic impact the horse industry has on Kentucky and all Kentuckians. Addressing our industry’s labor issues is an integral part of that and we are looking forward to pioneering this approach to the issue with the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center.”
Jensen also added, “With the improving economy, the demand for a capable workforce has increased at the same time that the industry has faced a shrinking and inconsistent immigrant labor pool. It is essential that we build a talent pipeline of Kentuckians to meet the opportunities and challenges that the horse industry will encounter in the near future.”
The Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center will hold meetings throughout the two year project to develop strategies to improve Kentucky’s workforce issues across six different industry areas, including the horse industry. Participating employers, employer-led associations and education providers will build partnerships while using a demand-driven concept in order to connect employees and employers.
Beth Davisson, executive director of the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center said, “We are excited by the opportunity to partner with KEEP to strengthen the equine talent pipeline in Kentucky. Together we will strengthen the Equine Workforce using an approach that is unique to Kentucky, and the nation through the Chamber Foundation’s TPM system.. The Kentucky Chamber’s Workforce Center is dedicated to supporting our state’s economy and ensuring we build the workforce needed to help Kentucky thrive. This partnership with KEEP will allow our state to better support the equine industry and honor its critical importance in Kentucky.”
Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce, said, “Yesterday’s education systems aren’t meeting the needs of today’s learners and tomorrow’s workers. The state-based TPM Academy will empower state, local and industry leaders to tackle this problem. By coming together to develop a statewide strategy for closing the skills gap, business leaders will be equipped with the tools they need to hire and develop a strong workforce.”