Knox County earned a new distinction this week. The county won “unanimous approval” from the state recommendation committee and will soon be certified as one of the Governor’s official “Work ready communities – in progress.”
County Judge Executive JM Hall, Mayor David Thompson, and community leaders representing the, Chamber of Commerce, KCEOC, Eastern Kentucky University, and several other agencies attended the meeting.
“I think this is great. Our kids need to be work ready,” said Mayor Thompson, adding that the designation took a lot of time and effort to achieve. According to the state’s work ready community website, “Kentucky has the most rigorous certification program in the nation to allow communities to demonstrate their workforce quality. The criteria includes high school graduation rates, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, community commitment, educational attainment, soft skills development and Internet availability.
“A Kentucky Work Ready Community certification is a measure of a county’s workforce quality. It is an assurance to business and industry that the community is committed to providing the highly-skilled workforce required in today’s competitive global economy… The quicker we can create the best workforce, the quicker we can differentiate our state to attract and grow jobs.”
Claudia Greenwood, representing the Knox County Chamber of Commerce, noted that the committee did put one condition on their approval. It asked the county to put goals in place to mark that the educational attainment component was achieved.
EKU staff helped both Knox and Whitley Counties prepare reports, documents, and guide them through the complete process to earn the coveted certification. Whitley County’s application was also approved. “We are very excited to be at this level, and look forward to continued progress,” said Bruce Carpenter, economic director for the industrial parks in Corbin and Knox County.