Kentucky Political News Headlines

Monday, June 10, 2019

Economic Development and Workforce Investment - June

Recently named Acting Secretary of Economic Development, Vivek Sarin, presented on the status of the State’s Economic Development programs.  The Secretary focused on workforce needs, permitting needs, and access to new/existing suppliers/customers. The Cabinet is in the process of revamping a strategy to assist small businesses through the creation of Regional Innovation for Startup and Entrepreneur (RISE) offices as well as creating Commonwealth Commercialization Center (C3) to commercialize intellectual property and technology coming from universities.  In addition, they are incenting high-tech startups to locate in Kentucky by matching federal high-tech funds.  The Cabinet has also processed 300 plus companies for Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority and Bluegrass States Skills approval.  They have also assisted 173 companies in receiving Small Business Tax Credits.  By the numbers, the Cabinet has assisted with $13 Billion in new investments, 767 announced new or expanded projects involving 39,000 jobs the last three years.

When asked what his team need from the Legislature, Sarin mentioned the following:
-Their own revenue source to create a “war chest” to compete with other states.
-Passage of pension reform. He said that investors are concerned about the impact to the states financial stability
-Property readiness

Dr. Jay Box, President Kentucky Community and Technical College System, gave a presentation on the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program.  The program was created by Governor Bevin in 2016 by Executive Order and recently made permanent by Senate Bill 98 in the 2019 session.  The program helps Kentuckians who have not yet earned an associate degree afford an industry-recognized certificate or diploma.  Recipients of the scholarships must be approved in a program that leads to an industry-recognized certificate.

SB 98 expanded the program to include awards for summer terms, eligibility from secondary to postsecondary if a student uses for dual-credit classes, and removes the requirement for Dual Credit Scholarships be used first.  Scholarships are available in high-demand sectors identified by the Workforce Development Cabinet.  Five high demand sectors are: Advanced Manufacturing; Health Care; Transportation; Business Services and Construction.

There’s been a 148% increase in scholarship awards since the fall of 2017. Spring of 2019 recipient demographics show:

60.7% of recipients are male
92.3% are in the 18-44 age group
8.8% minority 
$1,570 average scholarship

Additional information can be found in the meeting materials HERE