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Steps already under way to make county a ‘Work Ready Community’

Last updated: February 24. 2014 1:02PM - 579 Views
By - ostapleton@newsdemocratleader.com



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Last week the Kentucky Center for Education & Workforce released profiles for all 120 of Kentucky counties which included vital information on demographics, employment, college readiness and educational attainment.


These are some of the most important statistics where economic development is concerned and while Logan County had several positive areas - like an unemployment rate well below the state and national averages - others need improvement.


“We know we have some work to do in education,” said Tom Harned, the executive director for LEAD, the Logan Economic Alliance for Development.


One troubling stat was that 24.4 percent of Logan County’s total population did not have a high school diploma or a high school diploma equivalent such as the GED. The state average was just 17.6 percent and the national average was 14.3 percent.


“Our high school dropout is much, much better than it has been in the past, but even if one person drops out of high school - that’s one person too many,” Harned said.


Logan County is on a track to become a certified Kentucky Work Ready Community. So far, only seven counties have achieved that certification. Logan County is one of several that has an “in progress” designation.


“We got that because we’re not there yet,” Harned said. “And the primary shortfall for us was in educational attainment.”


A Kentucky Work Ready Community certification is a measure of a county’s workforce quality. It is an assurance to business and industry that the community is committed to providing the highly-skilled workforce required in today’s competitive global economy.


There are two levels of certification – counties can apply to be a Kentucky Work Ready Community or a Kentucky Work Ready Community in Progress.


But with a renewed emphasis on the Russellville Area Technology Center and the continued work of groups like Logan County Adult Education, Harned said he is confident that Logan County will become a Kentucky Work Ready Community in the future.


“Every time someone gets their GED or someone graduates from high school or gets duel enrollment college credits - that all counts toward getting our educational attainment up. We have a lot of good things going for us in that area.”


Other indicators on the county profile showed that Logan County students who took the ACT scored an average composite 18.7. That was below the statewide average of 19.4.


Only about 16.5 percent of Logan County adults had a college degree of some kind - either an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree or higher.


To view the complete report on the Kentucky Center for Education & Workforce website, go to http://www.kcews.ky.gov/reports/CPG_201415_Logan.pdf.


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