Applicant notification will be delayed until early Sept.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 22, 2016) – The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet received 112 project pre-applications — totaling more than $510 million in requests —for first-round funding consideration through the Commonwealth’s new $100 million statewide workforce development bond fund.
Announced by Governor Matt Bevin, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner and Cabinet for Economic Development Acting Secretary Erik Dunnigan in July, the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative is aimed at developing a highly trained, modernized workforce to meet the needs of employers and promote sustainable incomes for Kentuckians.
Individual project funding requests range from $40,000 – $28 million. Proposals came from all 10 state workforce areas and addressed a wide array of key industry sectors, including manufacturing, health, technology, transportation and trades.
“The response to this program has been truly astounding,” said Gov. Bevin. “It dramatically underscores both the needs of our private sector employers and the willingness of our educational institutions and community partners to address those needs.”
The Work Ready Skills Initiative infuses resources to expand career and technical education facilities and to upgrade equipment in those schools to current and future industry standards through local partnerships between private industry and educational institutions. The locally driven initiatives will train and educate workers to meet the workforce needs of Kentucky’s employers now and in the future.
Eligible projects include: construction and equipping of a new facility to provide workforce training and education, renovation or enhancement of an existing facility, purchase of new or upgraded equipment, and first-year marketing expenses.
Applicants must provide at least a 10 percent financial match for all projects, and required partners include: private sector employers, high school/secondary technical schools and postsecondary institutions.
“Local business, education and community leaders across the Commonwealth have expressed great enthusiasm for this initiative,” said Sec. Heiner. “They appreciate that unlike traditional top-down government mandates, this program provides communities the opportunity to identify their individual needs and to develop grassroots, sustainable solutions.”
By early September, a nine-member Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee will review all pre-applications, notify successful pre-applicants, and invite them to submit a full project application.
This committee will include cabinet secretaries for Education and Workforce Development, Economic Development, and Labor, the chair of the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB), three employers nominated by the governor, one member nominated by the president of the Kentucky Senate, and one member nominated by the speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives.
The Commonwealth is planning additional application windows for Work Ready Skills Initiative funding, the next being spring 2017.