April 19, 2023 4:03pm
From the Desk of the CEO: April 2023
Earlier this month, Kentucky posted the lowest unemployment rate in recorded state history at 3.9 percent. This number means most Kentuckians who are seeking work are working, but over 30 percent of eligible workers are not actively looking for work and that is making it hard for businesses to fill critical positions.
According to GLI’s data generated by Emsi Burning Glass (now Lightcast), at the end of 2022 there were over 19,000 job postings in the Greater Louisville region. And while the region’s workforce participation is above the national average at 63.9 percent, that still leaves a significant portion of workers disengaged.
There are a number of factors keeping people out of the workforce. While it’s convenient to chalk this up to the post-pandemic status quo, action is needed to reverse this trend and help reengage individuals in the workforce. This is a multifaceted problem, so it needs a multifaceted solution – that’s why GLI is tackling this from a programmatic and a policy perspective.
GLI’s Workforce Ecosystem Hub
Last year, GLI launched the region’s first central hub of the workforce resources available in the community. Our new Workforce Ecosystem Hub is a one-stop-shop for all the upskilling, reskilling, and barrier removal programs in our state. Before we launched this resource, there was no central location for this information so employers and jobseekers did not have any way to know what options existed. Whether you’re an individual looking to learn a new skill, or an employer looking to invest in your employee’s growth, there are a plethora of resources at your disposal. Even if you think you have a pulse on the resources available, I guarantee you this site has many resources you never knew existed right here in our region.
We have heard amazing feedback from jobseekers and employers who have utilized the Hub, but we need your help to spread the word that this free platform exists so more people can reap the benefits. Please send this resource to your colleagues, your peers, and even your social media networks. You never know who could benefit from these resources.
We also recognize that many of the barriers to work require policy action. The Kentucky General Assembly passed several of Greater Louisville Inc.’s top priorities related to workforce during the 2023 session. I penned a recent op-ed in Louisville Business First that talks in-depth about these policies, but below is a snapshot of the progress that was made during the legislative session.
- Tax reform – House Bill 1 reduced the state’s personal income tax to 4.5 percent this year and will reduce it further to four percent in 2024, and will help Greater Louisville better compete for talent. Talent attraction is only one part of a multifaceted approach to supporting the longevity of our talent pipeline.
- Healthcare – HB 200 sponsored by Representative Ken Fleming, establishes the Kentucky Healthcare Workforce Investment Fund to create scholarships for students in the healthcare field and award grants to employers to invest in training and equipment.
- Education – HB 319, sponsored by Representative James Tipton, will fund and promote recruitment of teachers by making it easier for teachers to obtain interim certificates, helping launch a marketing plan to recruit teachers to Kentucky, and creating a process to track trends in departures to mitigate causes.
- Barrier Removal
- Senate Bill 54, sponsored by Senator Jared Carpenter, will expand the use of Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) funds to include qualified proprietary programs, art and design schools, and workforce training solutions program offered by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
- House Joint Resolution 39 directs the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to review public assistance programs and address the benefits cliff, which refers to when people lose public assistance benefits due to increased earnings.
Improving Greater Louisville’s workforce participation rate is only one piece of the puzzle of solving worker shortages in our region. GLI is working through our talent attraction initiative, Live in Lou, to bring more high-skilled talent to our region to meet the demands of the innovative jobs we are attracting through our economic development efforts. All of these things work together to help our region compete in the tight race for talent.