‘Help Wanted Kentucky’: State’s new campaign will put Kentuckians on fact track to in-demand jobs

In an effort to meet the increasing demand for skilled workers in select industries across the Commonwealth, the state unveiled an outreach campaign aimed at putting Kentuckians on the fast path to obtaining those job openings.

Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner announced the “Help Wanted Kentucky” campaign Wednesday. The program will help educate Kentuckians about the numerous job openings in the state and the short-term certification programs available to put citizens on a fast path to obtaining these jobs.

During the conference at the UPS WorldPort Global Operations Center in Louisville, Heiner stated the five high-remain industries the campaign will focus on are: Advanced Manufacturing; Business and IT; Construction Trades; Healthcare; and Transportation and Logistics

Through a website, helpwantedky.com, social media platforms and digital advertising, the Help Wanted Kentucky campaign will highlight the occupations in each of the five industries and the certifications necessary to obtain these jobs. Kentuckians who wish to pursue these certifications and jobs are eligible for tuition-free certifications through the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship (WRKS).

“This is a great opportunity for people who want to get skills to go to work quickly, then perhaps come back to finish a degree,” said Dr. Augusta Julian, president of Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

At the news conference, Heiner told the attendees that throughout his tenure as cabinet secretary, business leaders have been very open about their struggles to find qualified workers. He added many are great, high-paying jobs.

“Kentucky businesses need everything from automotive technicians to medical assistants to carpenters and welders right now,” said Heiner. “These are all great, high-paying jobs. While these jobs don’t require a four-year or a two-year degree, they do require some level of training beyond a high school diploma.”

To be eligible for the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, Kentucky citizens must have not previously obtained an associate’s degree or higher. Once the student has enrolled at a participating WRKS school, and applied for federal and state financial aid, they can apply for the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship. The credits received are “stackable” towards an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree if the student wishes to pursue them.

“Companies across the Commonwealth are seeking skilled employees, and we want to put Kentucky to work,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “HelpWantedKY.com is an opportunity for adults in Kentucky, regardless of age, to obtain a job that pays well and is in high demand. If you qualify for a Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, you can receive tuition-free training for up to 32 credit hours. These certifications will immediately open doors to a wide array of promising career fields.”

Jonathan Greene is the editor of The Register; follow him on Twitter @jgreeneRR.