Work Matters column by Mo Miller
Reprinted with permission from The News Enterprise http://www.thenewsenterprise.com/content/region-has-reasons-celebrate-workforce-economic-growth
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 4:47 pm (Updated: July 27, 9:14 am)
By MO MILLER
The Lincoln Trail region has much to celebrate in workforce and economic development.
Communities throughout our eight-county region are welcoming new employers and seeing existing employers expand. Businesses such as Metalsa in Elizabethtown, Itsuwa in Bardstown, Karbec in Hodgenville and Hendrickson in both Elizabethtown and Lebanon have decided our region is the place to invest and create jobs.
Our region is playing a role in Kentucky’s record-breaking exports, which reached $27.5 billion last year and marked a fourth consecutive year of growth.
Regional partnerships are bringing about new ways to strengthen the resources that help our entrepreneurs and small businesses compete and thrive.
Two counties in the Lincoln Trail region — Hardin and Nelson — have earned the state designation of Work Ready Community. Other counties have been designated Work Ready Communities in Progress or are in the application process.
The business community, educators and workforce and economic development professionals are coming together to ensure our region has the skilled, talented workforce that will drive growth and our quality of life today and in the future.
Employers large and small will tell you their success depends on a competitive, skilled workforce.
“A quality workforce has become one of the highest priorities of site selectors and businesses exploring expansion,” said Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation President and COO Rick Games said. “To create jobs, our region must offer the talent those businesses need.”
As we look to attract and grow business, it’s important that we realize workforce development and economic development are a joint mission.
As a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board, which oversees the Kentucky Career Center–Lincoln Trail, I’m excited our region now boasts a tangible example of the strong partnership between workforce and economic development.
Our region’s comprehensive career center in Elizabethtown is now co-located with the Elizabethtown Hardin County Industrial Foundation in a newly constructed building near many of Elizabethtown’s industrial businesses.
The new, welcoming facility, which is owned by the City of Elizabethtown, allows the career center to function as a true one-stop center. Employers and job seekers alike can come to a single location for the seamless, custom services they need to find the right talent or the right career opportunity.
Following the implementation of WorkSmart Kentucky, an initiative to streamline and modernize our state’s workforce system, the opening of the new Kentucky Career Center–Lincoln Trail promises to enhance the services provided to job seekers and existing and prospective employers.
Further, a single roof over the career center and the industrial foundation fosters the collaboration we need to effectively and proactively meet workforce demands and secure new opportunities.
“We are very proud to have this building in Elizabethtown,” Mayor Edna Berger said. “It presents a great opportunity for people who are looking for work and for businesses that are hiring.”
The new facility in Elizabethtown, as well as the meaningful work happening every day in our affiliate centers in Bardstown, Lebanon and Leitchfield, signifies an investment in our workforce. And because we know our workforce is our most valuable asset, it’s an investment in our local economy and our quality of life.
Mo Miller is a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board, which oversees employment and training programs in the eight-county region. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Work Matters column by Mo Miller