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Ky Labor Sec. Talks Need for Skilled Workers, Apprenticeship Programs

Becca Schimmel, WKU Public Radio

Kentucky Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey was in Barren County this week to announce new youth apprenticeship programs. The new programs include the fields of culinary arts, office management, and transportation maintenance.

Secretary Ramsey said people are beginning to understand what the state’s apprenticeship program is and how it can help Kentucky’s economy. He said it’s important to have more local businesses of all sizes involved in the program. Ramsey said it’s vital for employers to connect with local youth, some of whom could be part of their future workforce.

“Constant question that’s asked, what’s in it for me? Well, my constant response is do you want to be in business in five years?,” he said.

Ramsey said apprenticeships are a chance for young people to understand a new business, learn new skills, and explore potential careers. Each registered apprenticeship will be available to high school juniors and seniors and will be a two-year program. Ramsey said it’s hard to find people with the right skills for open jobs in transportation and infrastructure.     

“Here for trucking companies it’s like trying to find diamonds, trying to find people with CDL’s,” he told WKU Public Radio.

A CDL is a commercial driver’s license, needed for driving semi-trucks and other large vehicles. Ramsey said apprenticeship programs allow people to try a field out and see if they like it before they commit to it. A bill signed into law this year provides credit for military training. For example, if a service member received a commercial driver’s license while in the military, they would be issued the same license as a civilian.

Becca Schimmel is a Becca Schimmel is a multimedia journalist with the Ohio Valley ReSource a collaborative of public radio stations in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio. She's based out of the WKU Public Radio newsroom in Bowling Green.
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