Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
Cabinet awards more than $187,000 in industry partnership grants

Press Release Date:  Friday, January 30, 2015  
Contact Information:   

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 30, 2015) —  The Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (KWIB) and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) today announced the recipients of four industry partnership grant awards totaling $187,450.


These grants are designed to encourage Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs), local employers and system stakeholders to plan for the expansion and/or start-up of industry-led, sector-focused and business-driven partnership projects. Two kinds of grants were available: support/enhancement grants to create new or expand the capacity of existing partnerships, and training grants to provide direct support of skill development efforts prioritized by the partnership.


“We are excited about the potential that each one of these industry partnership grants has to build regional businesses and improve the skills of Kentucky workers for the promising growth sectors of advanced manufacturing and health care,” said Beth Kuhn, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Investment in the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.


“Instead of waiting for future economic development to come to us, Kentucky is forging ahead and partnering with industry to identify opportunities to encourage growth and develop our workforce to meet future challenges so our state and citizens will prosper.”


The following grants were awarded.


West Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (WKWIB) received a $37,450 grant to partner with the I-69 Industry Alliance to expand the scope of its operation and membership. The alliance, formerly the Madisonville Area Manufacturers Association, provides training and support for employers in the light manufacturing sector, which WKWIB has identified as having the potential for significant, near-term growth.


In general, light manufacturing refers to a business where all processing, fabricating, assembly or disassembly of items takes place within an enclosed building. Light industries include companies that make items such as food, electronics, home accessories, plastics and automobiles.


When completed, the I-69 corridor will run through Lyon, Caldwell, Hopkins, Webster and Henderson counties in western Kentucky. The Alliance plans to recruit members from the adjacent counties of Marshall, Livingston, Crittenden, Union, Daviess, McLean, Muhlenberg, Christian and Trigg to develop a regional light manufacturing focus to encourage other industries to locate in the area.


The I-69 Industry Alliance will use the grant to hire a consultant to assess the training and support needs of the light manufacturing sector in these counties; create a coordinated outreach and recruitment campaign to broaden its membership; and refine current networking and communication strategies to effectively serve the regional membership.


KentuckianaWorks received a $50,000 grant to partner with the Health Careers Collaborative of Greater Louisville to support the upcoming launch of a one-stop center for health care job seekers called the Kentucky Health Career Center. The collaborative of local health industry organizations, secondary, post-secondary and higher education institutions, community-based organizations and health care providers identifies potential health care workers and supports career pathways to meet the needs of health care institutions.


The grant will be used to hire a coordinator for the collaborative, launch the Kentucky Health Career Center, develop career pathway materials and establish entry-level credentials for health care workers.


Barren River Local Workforce Investment Board and the Franklin Simpson Industrial Authority received a $50,000 grant to partner with the Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC) and the Barren River Development District to address the need for skilled workers in advanced manufacturing jobs in the area.


The grant will be used for an advanced manufacturing technician (AMT) training program that would allow graduating high school seniors and other candidates to work for a sponsoring employer while earning their technicians’ degree at SKYCTC. The grant will help the group establish the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program, hire a project manager, identify potential graduating students for the apprenticeship program and coordinate employer selection.


Green River Area Development District (GRADD) and the Greater Owensboro Regional Alliance for Education (RAE) received a $50,000 grant to fund the No Worker Left Behind: Growing a Diverse Workforce for a Competitive Economy in the Advanced Manufacturing and Automotive Sector. The project will assure the continued viability and expansion of advanced manufacturing in the targeted areas of Daviess, Hancock, Mclean and Ohio counties, and provide a pipeline of well-prepared entry-level workers. It will also help the industries to develop a diverse workforce from non-traditional groups that are underrepresented such as females and minorities.


The grant will be used to collect and analyze data to identify current and future training needs; research and implement strategies to increase diversity in employment; and develop a long-term plan to address these issues.


Industry partnership applications had to specify a state or regional targeted sector. The state sectors, as detailed in the strategic plans WORKSmart Kentucky and Kentucky’s Unbridled Future, are automobile, aircraft, advanced and/or sustainable manufacturing; transportation, distribution and logistics; business services and research and development; health care /social assistance; energy creation and transmission; and technology – life sciences and data centers.  


Kentucky’s regional sectors as identified by local workforce investment areas and other related sector details are listed on the KWIB website at


These awards represent the fourth round of KWIB planning grant opportunities for industry partnerships. The long-term goal of industry partnerships is to create an infrastructure that will provide employer-led training and education that enhances the skills of incumbent workers and develop career pathways for the emerging workforce.


For additional information about Industry Partnerships please go to  To contact a Local Workforce Investment Area (LWIA) directly, please reference