Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Kentucky Receives $5 Million From U.S. Department of Labor's ‘WIRED’ Initiative

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, June 20, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Michael Goins

Funds will be used to spur innovation and address workforce needs in the I-65 corridor

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced that Kentucky has been awarded $5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor for the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) initiative. 

The funds, which were secured through an application from Governor Fletcher’s office to the U.S. Department of Labor, will be used to address needs in workforce, education and spur innovation and entrepreneurship in a 15-county area designated as the Central Kentucky I-65 corridor: Breckinridge, Bullitt, Grayson, Hardin, Henry, Jefferson, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Washington County.

“This is welcome news,” said Governor Fletcher. “With growth at Fort Knox and expansion at UPS, this will enable us to significantly increase our efforts to address the needs in the Central Kentucky I-65 corridor.”

“Education and workforce go hand-in-hand in developing a strong economy,” said Laura E. Owens, secretary of the Kentucky Education Cabinet.  “This award will help us prepare the I-65 region to compete and grow new jobs and new opportunities in our global economy.”

The Central Kentucky I-65 Corridor is one of 13 regions in the nation selected in the third generation of WIRED funding. Each region will receive $5 million over three years.

“The WIRED grant is an important step in helping the I-65 Corridor region’s workforce be better prepared to meet the demands of tomorrow’s high-tech – and higher paying – employers,” said Deborah L. Clayton, commissioner for the Economic Development Cabinet’s Department of Commercialization and Innovation. “A collaborative workforce training effort such as that supported by the WIRED initiative is a key component in moving this and other regions within Kentucky to the next level of economic competitiveness.”

The Department of Labor started the WIRED initiative to encourage development of regional economies across the country through partnerships in economic and workforce development.  A total of $195 million was awarded in the first generation of WIRED funding in February 2006 to 13 regions over a three year period.  The second generation of WIRED funding was announced in January 2007.

For more information on the WIRED initiative, go to