Making a Difference: Kentucky’s Workforce is Changing

KET Answers the Call With In Demand Series.

For more than 40 years, KET has helped Kentuckians prepare for the workforce. It began in 1975, with KET’s first GED® test-prep system. And in 1999, KET unveiled “Workplace Essential Skills”, which teaches the soft skills that help employees excel. But even more is needed to address the workforce-readiness needs of a changing Kentucky.

By the year 2020, it’s projected that 63 percent of Kentucky jobs will require at least some postsecondary education or training. In addition, Kentucky currently faces a shortage of skilled workers and falls below the national average in workplace participation.

To highlight opportunities in the workplace, KET and the Kentucky Department of Workforce Investment have created In Demand, a collection of videos focusing on high-demand career sectors in which there are currently thousands of job vacancies: manufacturing, construction, business & IT, logistics & transportation, and healthcare. The videos, along with more information, are available at KET.org/InDemand.

KLH Engineers in Fort Thomas is one of more than 60 companies featured in the series. Robert Heil, KLH’s president and CEO, says, “The competition for talent is so keen right now that there’s a real shortage of skilled workers – electricians, plumbers and HVAC specialists.”

In Demand provides a snapshot of what a career in one of Kentucky’s high-demand industries might look like, including education and experience needed to get these jobs, salary ranges, work environment, and the projected number of job openings over a five-year period.

“The level of information that KET is providing is fantastic – from salary scales and expectations to giving people a glimpse into what these industries are about,” Heil says.

Kentucky’s high-demand job sectors are the centerpiece of KET’s updated Workplace Essential Skills series. In addition to the product going all-online, recent and upcoming updates include lessons that help students learn math and language arts important to each sector, as well as the soft skills important to any job.

Beth Davisson, executive director of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Workforce Center, says a lack of soft skills is the number one workforce issue in Kentucky.

“It’s the things like knowing how to shake a hand, looking a teacher in the eye, showing up on time and working well with other people as a team,” Davisson says. “If we can help make sure those essential skills are there at an early age, I think that’s something Kentucky can really lead on.”

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