Shortage of Workers to Fill 5,800 Open Jobs a Challenge for South Central Kentucky

Aug 30, 2017

Robert Boone is president and CEO of the South Central Workforce Development Board.
Credit Rhonda J Miller

It’s a good sign of a healthy economy that businesses in the 10 counties of south central Kentucky have nearly 5,800 job openings and are eager to hire.

But a new report from the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce also shows there are about 7,200 people in the region who are unemployed.

Robert Boone is president and CEO of the South Central Workforce Development Board. He says finding compatibility between available workers and open positions is a big challenge.

“The highest percentage of need is for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers and we currently have 550 of those positions in our area that are open. So you can see that not everyone would qualify or be compatible for that kind of work.”

He says the second highest need in the region is for supervisors in retail sales, with 360 open jobs.

Boone says training and compatibility for open positions are major challenges, along with an increasingly common national issue - the lack of soft skills. 

“Soft skills are basically the skills that people need to find and keep a job. These can be skills like showing up to work on time, working in teams or calling in if you’re going to be absent from work. I talk with many employers in the area and these are problems we’re experiencing in our 10-county area.”

He says he expects workforce, education and business leaders to develop more collaborative efforts to match workers to vacant positions.

Boone will present a review of the new jobs report at the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 1.

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