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Gov. Beshear awards Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress certification to Perry County

award presentationPerry County has been certified as a Kentucky Work Ready Community in Progress. Shown here, from left, are Ed Holmes, Chairman of Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (KWIB); Melissa W. Quillen, Office of Employment and Training; Robert Curry, Executive Director, Work Ready Communities; Dr. Deronda Mobelini, University Center of the Mountains Director; and Tom Zawacki, Education amp; Workforce Development Cabinet. Not shown is Dr. Jennifer Lindon, HCTC Occupational Technologies and Workforce Solutions Dean.

Governor Steve Beshear announced recently that Perry County has been certified as a Kentucky Work Ready Community in Progress.

The Kentucky Work Ready Community certification program from the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (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.

We are excited that Perry County has achieved Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress status and we look forward to certifying many others in the future. Work Ready in Progress status is not an easy accomplishment. Perry County leaders are to be commended for working together to achieve this goal, said Roxann Fry, chair of the Kentucky Work Ready Communities Review Panel and senior consultant for the Tennessee Valley Authority Economic Development.

Dr. Jennifer Lindon, Occupational Technologies and Workforce Solutions Dean, noted, The Work Ready Community In Progress Designation will move Perry County forward in validating to employers that its educational institutions are committed to training work ready individuals who can demonstrate the work ethic that companies desire.

One of the criteria for Work Ready Community in Progress addresses soft skills. Buckhorn High School will pilot the implementation plan this academic year, 2014-2015, addressing development of soft skills. We are looking forward to holding our Work Ready Pilot Project kick off at Buckhorn High School, commented Dr. Lindon. Members of the Perry County Work Ready Committee and Betsy Clemons from the Hazard-Perry County Chamber of Commerce will assist with the program for Buckhorn High School Seniors, she added. The certification program will be targeted to seniors in years one through three, with a possible expansion to other grades based on evaluation of the success of the program.

Through the WIN program, guest speaker presentations, and related activities, high school seniors will learn about the following: career/academic planning, team work skills, resume writing, job application skills (dress, work ethic, communication skills). Guest speakers will include business leaders from the Hazard/Perry County Chamber of Commerce and Hazard Community and Technical College representatives. Other high schools will be brought into the project in fall 2015.

Perry County was designated as a Kentucky Work Ready Communities in Progress because it is close to meeting the criteria to be certified as a Kentucky Work Ready Community. 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.

To become certified, communities must gather local support and commitment and apply for the Kentucky Work Ready Communities designation. Counties have to meet criteria in six areas including high school graduation rate, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development and digital literacy.

Applications for the certification were reviewed by a panel appointed by the KWIB. The panel recommended certification by the board for the counties that met the criteria. The panel will meet 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 http://workready.ky.gov

Announcement of Perry County as a Work Ready Community in Progress was made on Nov. 25. Standing, from left, are: Janet Prater Smith, Hazard-Perry County Chamber; Charlene Fugate, Adult Education Program Director at Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative; Melissa W. Quillen, Office of Employment and Training; Betsy Clemons, Hazard Perry County Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Deronda Mobelini, University Center of the Mountains director; and Dr. Jennifer Lindon, HCTC Occupational Technologies and Workforce Solutions dean.