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Business: Skilled workforce key to growth

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As a small business owner, I learned many years ago that my success is dependent on a team of loyal, skilled employees. Ask any large employer, and they’ll tell you the same. A business can’t exist, a profit can’t be made and an economy can’t thrive without skilled employees.

A skilled workforce drives a strong economy which offers a high quality of life in return. People who work hard want to live in a vital community. They want – and deserve – good schools, parks and recreational facilities and cultural amenities like restaurants and museums. Where a skilled workforce is lacking, quality of life suffers.   
An important function of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is developing the workforce pipeline in our region through the Kentucky Career Center - Lincoln Trail. The WIB works to ensure that employers – large and small – have skilled employees.

They also help thousands of people find jobs and pursue training opportunities each year – at no charge to the job seeker. Through the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, the WIB invests in a trained and skilled workforce and connects businesses with the right employees to strengthen the local economy.

Having served on the Lincoln Trail WIB for nearly six years, and as the current chair for 18 months, I’ve heard many success stories about the positive impact the WIB’s efforts are having in the region.

Emily Turner, office manager at Alliance Endodontics, turned to the Kentucky Career Center when her employer was seeking dental assistants. The Career Center staff worked with Turner to identify job candidates and arrange interviews with more than 30 applicants.

According to Turner, the Career Center is an excellent source for employers looking for specific skillsets – using the free website and array of services to recruit talented workers.

Hendrickson USA is another company working with the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail to screen applicants. As the company looks to open a new facility in Elizabethtown, the Career Center is assisting by setting up workshops on interviewing skills and sharing information on the company with candidates prior to interviews.

Hendrickson’s company leadership has reported that they’re pleased with the quality of job candidates and the employment services provided by the Career Center.

Whether it’s providing assistance to a small business or a large manufacturer, it’s essential to have programs that create a diversified and skilled workforce in our region. A trained workforce makes regions more attractive to potential employers looking to build or expand a business. In turn, this economic expansion creates more opportunities for large and small businesses already here. This ripple effect across our local economy is especially crucial for sustaining entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.

Investing in a trained and skilled workforce, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs, and connecting businesses with the right employees are all examples of how the WIB is helping to strengthen the local economy.

For our region to attract and grow business we must invest in our greatest asset – our workforce.  Providing for a skilled and educated workforce not only ensures our future economic growth, but also the quality of life for all those who call Kentucky home.

Mo Miller chairs the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board and owns Stone Works, Inc. in Elizabethtown. The Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board is comprised of 45 advisory members who oversee employment and training programs in an eight-county region that includes Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties. He can be reached at momiller@iname.com.