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Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act helps young adults pay for training, tuition

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By Terri Thomas

So many young adults have sincere interests in developing the skills they need to start a career in one of our region’s thriving industries. Too often, though, these job seekers are discouraged because they don’t think they can afford the training needed to qualify for high paying, in-demand jobs.
The Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board and Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail want young adults in our communities — as well as their parents, teachers and employers — to know our career coaches are here to help them explore their career options and meet their training and education goals.
Backed by Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding, our career counselors can help eligible young adults get tuition assistance. For those pursuing high-demand fields, the funding covers tuition for two-year degrees or the last two years of a four-year degree. And knowing our region has high-paying career opportunities that don’t necessarily require a post-secondary degree, we also can help job seekers land funding to cover the cost of industry-recognized training certificates.
Our team continuously works hand-in-hand with employers across our eight-county region, which includes Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties, meaning we are equipped and standing ready to provide job seekers with the latest information about hot job opportunities, long-term career prospects and the types of skills local companies need most.
“That means the young adults we work with not only find tuition assistance to train for a career, but they also start a path that leads to high-demand skills, the potential for multiple job offers and secure employment,” said Leslie Norris with Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail.
Advanced manufacturing, where job seekers with technical skills like welding, tooling, industrial maintenance and engineering are highly sought after, is among our region’s most in-demand sectors. While this sector accounts for about 22 percent of our region’s jobs, its workers are taking home 30 percent of the income earned in our region.
There also are tremendous opportunities in healthcare, food and beverage/bourbon production, transportation/logistics and information technology. What’s more, these fields are expected to continue growing right here in the Lincoln Trail region.
Additionally, these job sectors offer unique opportunities of which job seekers may not be aware, and our team is always happy to help inform young job seekers of what’s out there for them.
“Our services truly are individualized,” Norris said. “Every customer we help has his or her own hopes, plans and challenges, and we’re here to sit down one-on-one and identify the opportunities and resources that are right for them.”
The education and training that these job seekers attain matters to us all. It’s important that our area employers have the skilled employees they need to compete and succeed. That competitive advantage, in turn, attracts new business investment and helps our existing businesses, both large and small, to grow and create more opportunities for our families and our communities.
The bottom line is this: You don’t have to go far from home to find career opportunities and the funding that makes training free or affordable. I encourage job seekers of all ages, including young adults, to visit their nearest Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail location to learn how we can help. To find a location, visit www.ltcareercenter.org.
Editor’s note: Terri Thomas is a client services manager for Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail. She can be reached at 270-692-6870 or terri.thomas@ky.gov.