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Kentucky launches upgraded Work Ready Communities dashboard

Added features include county profiles

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) launched a newly updated Kentucky Work Ready Communities dashboard to provide a comprehensive view of education, workforce and economic information for all 120 Kentucky counties.

The Kentucky Work Ready Communities dashboard consolidates data into a single online resource to give applicants easy access to local workforce information. It also tracks where counties are in the Work Ready Communities certification process by showing which of the five criteria have been met. The interactive map gives criteria completion information when the user hovers over a respective county.

“We are very excited about the updated dashboard because it ensures that communities are armed to truly review where they stand as related to balancing and projecting supply and demand for their workforce,” said Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board Executive Director Melissa A. Aguilar.

“I personally have traveled to many counties in the past six months to work with Work Ready Community groups to review their metrics and assist them in thinking about how to futuristically plan for additional community partnerships, producing a talent pipeline supply, and in general, working with them to support their needs in moving forward. Being able to understand how to connect the dots by using data and resources already available in their own communities is key to progress,” Aguilar said.

KYSTATS worked with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development (CED) to refresh the dashboard and add new features including a “County Profile” that provides various economic and community health metrics such as workforce participation rate and overall health score for each of Kentucky county. In addition, the high school graduation rate metric now aligns with the five-year cohort graduation rate that is published by the Kentucky Department of Education.

“The Work Ready Communities program has been successful in bringing local stakeholders and industry leaders together to identify talent gaps and put a strategic plan in place to address them,” said Executive Director Kristina Slattery, CED Office of Workforce, Community Development and Research. “This new dashboard will only enhance that work by providing communities more detailed data to dig into. This is the exact type of data that employers are analyzing as they evaluate if a community can respond to their workforce needs, and ultimately decide if growth opportunities are possible.”

The Kentucky Work Ready Communities certification program assures employers that a local workforce area has the talent and skills necessary to meet employer demand and master the innovative technologies new jobs require. About 70 percent of counties have been certified as either Work Ready or Work Ready in Progress Communities.

To become certified, a county must gather local support and apply for the Work Ready Community designation. Counties have to meet criteria including high school graduation rates, career readiness certificates, demonstrate community commitment, educational attainment, life-skills development, broadband availability, and matching workforce supply and demand.

Counties leaders can request Work Ready Communities presentations and technical assistance by contacting Melissa Aguilar at [email protected].