Thursday, December 15, 2011

Owensboro EDC and Chamber pass Joint Resolution on the Work Ready Community effort

The boards of directors of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp and Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce passed a joint resolution supporting the application that Owensboro-Daviess County be considered a "Work Ready Community."

The Work Ready Community program was launched by Governor Beshear and the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (K-WIB)in August of this year. The Owensboro application, which was submitted last week, will be among the first applications considered.

The new program is designed to transform local economies and give counties a competitive advantage in attracting new businesses and jobs.

“We have business and industry in Kentucky that require a skilled workforce. This program provides us with a way to prove it, county by county,” said Gov. Steve Beshear in August. “In addition, the program promotes collaboration among key community stakeholders including education, economic development, elected officials, employers, workforce agencies and community organizations as they work toward common community goals.”

To earn certification, counties will have to meet established criteria in six specific areas. Highlights of the Owensboro application include the following:

· high school graduation rate- Work Ready standard: 82.32%, Owensboro region: 83%;
· National Career Readiness Certificate holders- Work Ready standard: plan to raise to 15% in three years, Owensboro: current 8% with plan to grow to 15%;
· educational attainment (2 and 4-year degree rate)- Work Ready standard: 25%, Owensboro: 32%;
· soft skills development- Work Ready standard: plan to address, Owensboro: a plan is in place;
· digital literacy (percent household with broadband available)- Work Ready standard: 90%, Owensboro: 96%.

The regional Work Ready Community effort was co-chaired by Helen Mounjoy and Judge Al Mattingly in conjunction with the EDC. The K-WIB will consider the application at their February meeting.

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