By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
Kentucky Chamber leaders, Kentucky Education and Workforce Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner and other Kentucky experts on Monday highlighted key workforce efforts and successes at America Working Forward, a premier national workforce conference hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson spoke on the panel, “Reinventing Employer-Led Education and Workforce Partnerships: The Kentucky Story,” with Kentucky Education and Workforce Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner, Kim Menke of Toyota and Sharnika Glenn of UPS with Scott Jennings of RunSwitch PR serving as moderator.
Adkisson highlighted the Kentucky Chamber’s approaches to solving the state’s pressing workforce needs, including the Chamber published reports “Kentucky’s Workforce Challenges: The Employers’ Perspective” and “Workforce Participation in Kentucky,” incorporating U.S. Chamber Talent Pipeline Management methodologies in Kentucky, creating the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center, and forming a Business-Education Roundtable.
“We wanted to develop a workforce approach that would last for more than a decade,” Adkisson said on the panel.
Kentucky Education and Workforce Cabinet Secretary Heiner pointed to a statistic that only 20 percent of jobs in Kentucky are considered low skill and “a high school diploma isn’t enough to become middle class,” an issue he highlighted in a recent interview with The Bottom Line.
Beth Davisson, executive director of the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center, spoke on the panel “A Statewide Approach to Talent Supply Chains” alongside Gwen Rogers of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, Sharon Miller of Consumers Energy with Lisa Ventriss of Vermont Business Roundtable serving as moderator.
The panel focused on each state’s approach to the concept of talent pipeline management systems, the methods to gathering business support, the statewide partnerships necessary for success, and tips based on experiences for implementing talent pipeline management systems.
In the panel, Davisson said employers are more motivated than ever, which is a key component to employer led successful workforce initiatives. The partnership is essential between the business, educators and workforce trainers to strengthen Kentucky’s workforce participation.
Kentucky’s collaborative workforce initiatives, led by business communities and government institutions, are considered a model for other states. To learn more about what the Kentucky Chamber is doing to solve the state’s workforce needs, visit kychamber.com/workforcecenter.