FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 15, 2016) – Governor Bevin has declared Nov. 14-18 National Apprenticeship Week in Kentucky in recognition of the 1,100 employers and approximately 3,000 apprentices who participate in a Registered Apprenticeship program across the state.
“Apprenticeships are going to transform Kentucky,” said Gov. Bevin. “They will fill the skills gap in opportunities that require training beyond a high school level, but not necessarily a four-year degree. If we are to be the hub of excellence in manufacturing, we must have a highly trained workforce, and this apprenticeship program is one of the keys to making this happen.”
As part of an ongoing effort to re-brand and promote apprenticeships in the Commonwealth, the Labor Cabinet launched the “Kentucky Trained.Kentucky Built.” initiative in September. According to Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey, feedback received from business leaders and educators across the state illustrates the growing need for skilled labor and increased awareness of apprenticeship opportunities.
“Registered Apprenticeships aren’t new to Kentucky, but the current need for this workforce development tool is at an all-time high,” Ramsey stated. “As I’ve traveled the state speaking with students, parents and business leaders, it’s more apparent than ever that apprenticeships are gaining momentum because of their unique ability to address the skills gap that hinders job growth and economic opportunities for so many. We are committing an unprecedented amount of new resources toward growing apprenticeships in this state, and I look forward to carrying this message to new employers and apprentices who can benefit from this proven method of training.”
One such employer with a robust apprenticeship program is LG&E in Louisville, where there are currently 67 apprentices who are a part of the Line Maintainer apprenticeship program.
“Kentucky’s Registered Apprenticeship program delivers tremendous value to individuals and the Commonwealth as a whole,” said Ken Sheridan, Director of Operations and Security at LG&E. “Craft workers are the backbone of economic growth, and the demand for their skills continues to increase at a rapid pace. Registered Apprenticeship programs generate individuals who are highly qualified in many fields; their knowledge, talents, and commitment to safety strengthen our workforce, attract businesses, and promote opportunities.”
“Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184 is a proud member of the ‘Kentucky Trained. Kentucky Built.’ apprenticeship program,” said Kyle Henderson, Business Manager at Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184 in Paducah. “Our apprenticeship program gives us a great platform to produce skilled journeymen. Congratulations to the Commonwealth on declaring this week National Apprenticeship Week, and we look forward to many more years of a strong partnership.”
According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, there are approximately 448,000 apprentices currently enrolled in Registered Apprenticeship programs across the country. In FY 2015, over 52,500 participants graduated from the apprenticeship system, where, on average, graduates receive a starting salary of $50,000.
Also among the newly committed resources to apprenticeships in Kentucky is a $896,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor announced last month. Called the ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grant Initiative, Governor Bevin successfully partnered with members of Kentucky’s Congressional Delegation to secure a piece of the $50.5 million in grants awarded nationwide.
This funding will help create a workforce pipeline to increase the number of Registered Apprentices in Kentucky by 1,300 through more targeted recruiting of employers, diversifying the occupational sectors currently being served, and providing greater outreach to underserved populations in Kentucky.
“To receive this grant award is a clear endorsement of our apprenticeship vision in Kentucky,” Sec. Ramsey said. “Many people came together to support the Cabinet and make this funding possible. I want to specifically recognize and thank: U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, former U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, KY Senate President Robert Stivers and KY House Speaker Greg Stumbo for their strong showing of support. Together with Gov. Bevin, the Labor Cabinet was able to submit an effective grant that will help modernize the Commonwealth’s workforce. Winning this grant is a true team effort and I am grateful for their tireless efforts.”
To view a video message on National Apprenticeship Week from Gov. Bevin, click here.