HRD Strategies, Inc., a leading provider of human capital advisory services and organizational development systems across the country, has been selected to lead a workforce development initiative in South Central Kentucky.
The initiative is part of the WKU Glasgow Workforce Training and Development Alliance and is expected to prepare tomorrow’s workforce by building and sustaining strong education and development systems resulting in a competitive, world-class workforce. This collaborative initiative brings together leaders across business, industry and education to grow and improve skills of current and future employees.
Michael Lovett, Senior Partner at HRD Strategies, recently met with a large contingent of area officials and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to discuss the scope of the work. “I applaud this effort to develop this regional workforce alliance,” said Governor Beshear. “As I have traveled the world looking for new jobs and opportunities for Kentuckians, the top issue I hear from all companies has to do with finding and training qualified workers. Having this comprehensive approach involving business, education and government will be a major selling point to companies considering Kentucky for a new location or an expansion, and it should enhance our record setting economic development efforts in Kentucky.”
Through data-rich applied research, HRD Strategies will partner with local leaders in business, economic development and education to identify what skills gaps exist and what types of training will be needed to address those issues. “Using workforce predicatability tools, we will align current training and degree programs with actual job skills for the incumbent employees and future workforce,” shares Michael Lovett, Senior Partner at HRD Strategies. “By developing a targeted plan for high-growth occupations by industry, there is an opportunity to be proactive in developing those skills and fuel economic development in the region.”
“This approach is completely new and different from the more institutional approaches we’ve seen in the past,” shares Dr. Sally Ray, Regional Chancellor of WKU’s Glasgow Campus.
One of the primary target audiences of this project is millennials. By 2020, more than 50% of business leaders in the workplace will be in this demographic. “It is essential for us to equip our future business leaders with the skills needed to be successful,” shared Lovett. “We will agressively pursue new ways to attract and retain employees.” Cultural change, innovative work design, skill based performance compensation and incentive based educational systems are just a few of the ways we will transform from traditional sytems of the past, indicated Lovett.
The team has partnered with the Akebono Brake plant in Glasgow to launch an Earn & Learn program for college students. In response to increase product demand, the company has launched a Saturday-Sunday shift with a starting wage of $13.25 per hour. Students who successfully complete the semester will be reimbursed 50 percent of tuition. According to Akebono’s plant manager, Jeff Simons, the initial response has been positive. This is just one innovative example underway to broader the labor pool.
“If you think about it, why can’t south central Kentucky be the Silicon Valley of this region?” said Lovett. “We want to be able to attract that young demographic that not only grows up here, but wants to stay here and make this place happen. That’s the purpose of this project.”