Speakers representing multiple agencies participated in the Todd County Industrial Authority’s Workforce and Economic Development Workshop Thursday in Elkton.
It lasted much of the day and featured individuals from the Todd County Industrial Foundation, Pennyrile Area Development District, Kentucky Education and Workforce Cabinet, the Cabinet for Economic Development, the South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council, the Kentucky Career Center and Hopkinsville Community College.
Kristina Slattery is the Senior Workforce Project Manager for the Cabinet for Economic Development and spoke on the Work Ready initiative. She pointed out that Todd County is already designated as Work Ready in Progress and Christian and Trigg counties are Work Ready. That shows potential industries that the area has met or is meeting specific guidelines to be ‘open for business’ and ready to supply skilled workers.
A challenge to getting the full Work Ready designation for Todd County has been 18 percent of adults not having a high school diploma. That number sounds high until one considers a majority of the Amish and Mennonite population complete their schooling after the 8th grade.
Broadband internet access is also a challenge for Todd County—with only 46 percent of the county having access to sufficient speeds. State Representative Jason Petrie noted that 900 additional homes have gained access recently with ATT adding service with four towers.
Slattery says Todd County is close to obtaining the Work Ready certification if the board makes an exception on the high school and continued education categories due to unusual circumstances.
Officials say there are 700 new jobs in Kentucky now that need to be filled and not enough skilled workers to fill them.
Elkton Mayor Jackie Weathers, Trenton Mayor Jo Ann Holder and Guthrie Mayor Scott Marshall were all in attendance, as were Juge-Executive Todd Mansfield and HCC President Dr. Alissa Young.