DANVILLE, Ky. – Boyle County is one step closer to becoming certified as a Work Ready Community.
On Wednesday, the Kentucky Work Ready Community review panel voted unanimously that Boyle County be recommended for full certification as a Work Ready Community, during a presentation at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System in Versailles, Ky.
A Work Ready Community is a measure of the quality of a county’s workforce. The certification program was developed by the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, and assures employers that a local workforce has the skills necessary to staff existing jobs and will master the innovative technologies new jobs will require.
“This designation will be a valuable assurance to our business prospects that our community’s citizens are educated, trained and ready to work,” said Jody Lassiter, president and CEO of the Danville/Boyle County Economic Development Partnership.
To become certified, communities must gather local support and commitment and apply for the Work Ready Community designation. Counties have to meet criteria in six areas including high school graduation rate, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development and digital literacy.
On behalf of the governor, the KWIB certifies counties as “work ready” when each of the six criteria are met. Counties close to meeting the criteria and presenting plans to achieve the goals within three years can be certified as Work Ready In Progress, indicating a community commitment to meet the skilled workforce needs of business and industry.
“This designation is a result of hundreds of hours of volunteer work by the Chamber’s Workforce Development Committee,” said Paula Fowler, executive director of the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce.
Fowler said for the past 13 months the Workforce Development Committee, led by Steve Rinehart, has specifically focused on earning the Work Ready designation for Boyle County’s workforce.
“This designation puts Boyle County prominently in a top ranking for the state as a community ready for business, with a focus on workforce development,” Fowler said.
The Chamber’s Workforce Development Committee applied for Work Ready status in September. On Wednesday, a group of six members made a presentation before the review panel. The KWIB will consider the panel’s recommendation and make an announcement on Nov. 15 if Boyle County will officially receive Work Ready status.
Fowler notes the designation as a Work Ready Community is an example of the collaboration between the Danville/Boyle County Economic Development Partnership, local government, business leaders and community volunteers, who work to “make our place the best place to live and work.”
“This collaborative effort, and the expertise and hours with so many dedicated business and educational people, is tremendously inspiring! So many people have assisted with this effort over the past five years – and especially this past year working on the application – to push our community to higher standards,” Fowler said.
Lassiter said he is gratified by the committee’s unanimous recommendation to award Boyle County the status as a Work Ready Community.
“I was particularly pleased that the committee members praised the collaborative approach of the Economic Development Partnership as a vehicle to pursue and implement this designation,” Lassiter said. “The Chamber is the EDP’s lead partner for workforce development, and I commend the Chamber for its hard work and success on this initiative.”