Less than 10 percent of employers believe the state’s workforce has the skills it needs, according to a new report from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce released on Wednesday. The organization, which surveyed member businesses, also found that as many as 10 percent of workers need retraining to keep up with changes in the economy.
The report’s findings come as local and state governments continue to struggle to create and sustain relevant training and support programs that will meet workforce needs in a rapidly changing and technologically advanced economy.
The Chamber, an advocacy organization which also lobbies government officials, is recommending that the next governor conduct a thorough review of the state’s various worker training programs to ensure they are accessible to employers and designed to fill the gaps currently in the workforce. The survey also found that business owners and managers should be more involved in training and retraining efforts so that the goals of those programs can better align with private-sector needs.
The government effort to provide worker training has ramped up considerably in recent years. In 2015, the General Assembly and Gov. Steve Beshear budgeted more than $901 million for workforce programs. The chief recipient was the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, which received more than $350 million in state funding and more than $272 million in federal funding for various educational and training programs this year.
The Chamber is also recommending the state establish an “asset map” to better understand sources of funding and resources for worker training programs.
The full report can be found here.