Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
Gov. Beshear Announces Seven Counties as Newest ‘Kentucky Work Ready Communities’

Press Release Date:  Thursday, November 19, 2015  
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2015) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced that Boyd, Carlisle, Greenup, Marshall, McCracken, Union and Washington counties have been certified as Kentucky Work Ready Communities, and Caldwell, Fulton, Green and Harrison counties have reached the Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress level.

“I am excited to announce that with these new certifications, 64 counties have achieved certification by the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB) and all 120 counties have been engaged in the program,” Gov. Beshear said.

The Kentucky Work Ready Communities certification program from KWIB and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet assures employers that a local workforce has the talent and skills necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the innovative technologies new jobs will require.

“This administration is committed to maintaining our state’s competitiveness, and if Kentucky is to compete for 21st Century jobs and attract business and industry, we must continue to show employers locations that have completed rigorous requirements and are a cut above other communities nationally when it comes to developing a skilled labor force,” Gov. Beshear said. “Much of our emphasis over the last seven years has been on creating a stronger, healthier and more educated population, in essence building our human capital. I congratulate these counties for partnering with us to strengthen Kentucky.”

Gov. Beshear encourages all Kentucky communities to strive for the Kentucky Work Ready Communities designation.

To become certified, a county 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 rates, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development and digital literacy.

The counties of Boone, Boyd, Boyle, Campbell, Carlisle, Clark, Daviess, Fleming, Greenup, Hardin, Henderson, Hopkins, Kenton, Madison, Marshall, McCracken, Nelson, Oldham, Pulaski, Rowan, Shelby, Union, Warren, Washington and Woodford have been designated as Kentucky Work Ready Communities since certification began in February 2012. Counties that achieve Kentucky Work Ready status must be recertified every two years.

“The Kentucky Work Ready Communities program momentum is growing as more communities learn about the certification and how it can help them achieve a higher level of competitiveness among business and industry,” said Hugh Haydon, chair of KWIB. “In addition to the 64 counties that have achieved certification as Work Ready or Work Ready in Progress, another 30-40 are in the process of applying.”

“We are excited to designate Caldwell, Fulton, Green and Harrison counties as Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress, and we look forward to certifying many others in the future,” said Kurt Krug, chair of the Kentucky Work Ready Communities Review Panel and vice president, North American, Human Resources for INOAC in Springfield.

Currently, 39 counties have been designated as Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress because they are close to meeting the Kentucky Work Ready Community criteria. To achieve this level, a county must present a viable plan to meet all of the criteria within three years. The designation shows that a community is making strides and working with its business, education, workforce and economic development leaders to set and meet common goals that will give the county an economic edge.

Applications for the certification are reviewed by a panel appointed by the KWIB. The panel recommends certification by the board for the counties that satisfy the criteria. The panel meets four times a year to review applications, which can be submitted at any time.

For more information about the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program, go to