jobs

An event this week in Bowling Green is aimed at giving past criminals a second chance while filling a few thousand job vacancies in the region. 

An expungement fair will be held Wednesday to help prospective workers with a criminal past wipe the slate clean.  The state legislature passed a bill last year allowing Kentuckians convicted of certain felonies, often drug offenses, to have their records expunged. 

Robert Boone heads the South Central Workforce Development Board and says a September screening event yielded 28 people considered work-ready.

Jeanna Glisson

The Kentucky Farm Bureau is hoping to raise awareness of the important role migrant labor plays in making the state’s agriculture system work.

Joe Cain is director of the bureau’s commodity division, and is the featured speaker at an event Tuesday night in Muhlenberg County.

He says he hopes any changes to the nation’s immigration laws will include updates to the H2A program, which allows agriculture employers to bring workers to the U.S. for seasonal work.

The U.S. economy shed 33,000 jobs in September, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while unemployment fell to 4.2 percent.

The September payrolls drop broke a nearly seven-year streak of continuous job gains, but economists caution that the drop is likely representing the short-term consequences of bad weather, not a long-term shift in the job market.

Before this report, the economy had added an average of about 175,000 jobs per month; the unemployment rate has been at 4.3 or 4.4 percent since April.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Karen

The October ‘Open Jobs Report’ from the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce shows there are nearly 5,300 vacant positions in a 10-county region of South Central Kentucky.

The chamber launched the monthly jobs report in September as part of a regional snapshot in the effort to develop a trained workforce to keep up with the area’s healthy business growth.

Economic development leaders point to the increasing number of college and apprenticeship programs as the main avenue to meet the needs of businesses.

Some executives say many potential or new employees lack 'soft skills' like good communication or showing up to work on time. And some business leaders say many potential employees can’t pass the drug test required for employment.

Jonathan Guffey has chiseled youthful looks and, at 32, does not have the haggard bearing of someone who has spent more than half his life hooked on opioids. That stint with the drug started at 15 and ended — he says for good — 22 months ago. He has a job working with his family in construction, but his work history is pockmarked by addiction.

"I've worked in a couple of factories for a short amount of time, probably just long enough to get the first check to get high off of," Guffey says.

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.

Ohio County Economic Development Alliance

Ohio County is boosting its economic development, but not with a big manufacturing plant or a major expansion of an existing business. The county is launching a coworking space for entrepreneurs called The Hub on July 24.

The new business incubator called The Hub is in a renovated house on Peach Alley in the town of Hartford. It offers a workspace nestled in the rural environment of Ohio County, while connected to national or global businesses with fiber broadband.

A local entrepreneur, or one who wants to leave an urban environment, can work remotely from Ohio County and hold meetings through audio or video conferencing.

Erica Peterson

After being name-checked in two of President Donald Trump’s recent speeches, a new coal mine opened in Pennsylvania last week.

“Next week we’re opening a big coal mine,” Trump told supporters in Cincinnati. “You know about that. One in Pennsylvania. It’s actually a new mine. That hadn’t happen in a long time, folks. But we’re putting the people and we’re putting the miners back to work.”

The mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania is expected to employ about 70 coal miners. But while it may be cause for local celebration and useful for political rhetoric, it isn’t a harbinger of what’s to come in Kentucky.

GE Lighting

The General Electric glass plant in Somerset is beginning a phase-out of operations this month. The plant employs 71 people, and will close August 11.

A G.E. plant in Lexington that employs 139 people will also close on the same day. The lighting industry has seen a decline in sales for incandescent, halogen, and specialty linear fluorescent lamps. The Somerset facility makes halogen lamps, and the Commonwealth Journal reports the plant is operating at 70 percent below capacity.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin announced Friday that companies have promised to invest $5.8 billion in Kentucky so far this year, breaking a previous yearly record of $5.1 billion.

The governor credited the state’s “right-to-work” law for the commitments. The policy makes union dues optional, and supporters say it makes the state more attractive to companies looking to move to or relocate in the state.

“The decisions made in the legislature matter,” Bevin said. “And the net result of this is a sense of enthusiasm in the business community for what’s happening in Kentucky like it has never happened before.”

flickr creative commons

Apple says it will give $200 million to Corning Inc. so it can invest in a Kentucky plant that makes glass screens for iPhones and iPads.

The California-based company says the money will come from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund. It has pledged to spend $1 billion on U.S.-based companies to create “innovative production and highly skilled jobs.”

Corning has had a facility in Harrodsburg for 65 years. The company has collaborated with Apple for the past 10 years by making scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass for Apple’s products.

Creative Commons

An aluminum company says it will build a $1.3 billion facility near the border of Kentucky and West Virginia, pledging to hire 550 employees earning average salaries of $70,000 in an area devastated by the loss of coal and manufacturing jobs.

Braidy Industries Inc. says the 2.5 million-square-foot facility in Greenup County, Kentucky, will produce 370,000 tons of aluminum for the automotive and aerospace industries, two of Kentucky's largest manufacturing sectors. The company says it expects 1,000 workers will be needed to build the plant next year, with construction to be completed in 2020.

"Braidy Industries' decision to locate in Eastern Kentucky has the potential to be as significant as any economic deal ever made in the history of Kentucky," Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said in a news release.

Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky officials say annual unemployment rates fell in 86 of the state’s counties in 2016 compared to 2015. Annual rates rose in 26 counties and stayed the same in eight.

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training says Woodford County had the state’s lowest annual jobless rate in 2016 at 3.2 percent.

It was followed by Oldham County at 3.4 percent; Fayette and Shelby counties at 3.5 percent each; and Scott County at 3.7 percent.

Officials say Magoffin County had the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2016 at 18.8 percent. It was followed by Leslie County at 13 percent; Harlan County at 12.1 percent; Letcher County at 11.9 percent; Knott County at 11.2 percent.

They say Russell County had the state’s largest drop in its annual jobless rate.

Erica Peterson

Monday night at his rally in Louisville, President Donald Trump repeated a campaign promise, telling the crowd he would revive Kentucky’s beleaguered coal industry.

“As we speak, we are preparing new executive actions to save our coal industry and to save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work,” he said. “The miners are coming back.”

But Trump didn’t offer any details about what those executive actions could be. He has already used the Congressional Review Act to roll back the Stream Protection Rule — which tightened environmental restrictions on surface mining, and had been in effect for less than a month — and has hinted in the past that the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan carbon dioxide regulations will be on the chopping block as well.

Roxanne Scott | wfpl.org

In the fundraising world, the future is in fact, female.

About 80 percent of workers in the field are women. As philanthropy is projected to slightly increase in 2017 and 2018, women are in the foreground of the donation business.

“It’s an area of great attraction to women,” said Penelope Burk, president of Cygnus Research. “There’s a lot of relationship building and dealing directly with people, and that attracts a lot of women into the field.”

Burk conducts research on donors and philanthropy. She was in Louisville recently to present at Donor-Centered Fundraising, an event by the Center For Nonprofit Excellence.

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