One Southern Indiana is taking part in a program it says will allow the region's businesses to tap into a highly-skilled work force. Where Opportunity Knox is designed to help 10,000 transitioning veterans filtering through Kentucky's Fort Knox and their spouses find employment in the area over the next three years. Organizers say the military is full of soldiers trained as mechanics, equipment operators and other positions in high demand by the manufacturing and logistics industries. We will have more on the program in this month's edition of the INdiana Connections e-newsletter, set to come out this week.
September 16, 2014
Louisville, Kentucky — Greater Louisville leaders announced the launch of Where Opportunity Knox today, an initiative that will connect 10,000 transitioning veterans and military spouses to jobs and to the region over the next three years.
In addition to the 6,000 to 8,000 jobs available in the Greater Louisville Region, the region's proximity to Fort Knox makes it uniquely suited to become a veteran talent magnet. Fort Knox is the headquarters for the U.S. Army's Transition Assistance Program (TAP) where approximately 130,000 soldiers exit the Army annually, either physically or virtually.
Where Opportunity Knox comes at an opportune time – by 2016 it's estimated that 480,000 soldiers will transition back to civilian life looking for the best job opportunity. In 2011, President Obama challenged U.S. employers to hire 100,000 veterans and spouses by 2013. Not only did U.S. businesses surpass that goal by hiring 290,000 veterans by 2013, but they are now committed to hiring and training another 435,000 over the next four years.
“While employers throughout the country have made the commitment to hire veterans, we're proud to be the first region in the U.S. to recognize and implement an initiative around the economic advantage of attracting veteran talent and their families,” said Wendy Dant Chesser, CEO of One Southern Indiana.
“Where Opportunity Knox offers a first-of-its-kind solution to the challenge of finding additional skilled and talented individuals to work in our region,” added Kent Oyler, CEO of Greater Louisville Inc.
“We have a unique competitive advantage as we are the only region in the country with Fort Knox in its backyard and through Where Opportunity Knox, we intend to model the best practices in connecting veterans to jobs and community for the nation,” commented Brad Richardson, CEO of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce.
Through a network of trained Regional Veteran Connectors (RVCs) and a host of knowledgeable volunteers, Where Opportunity Knox is poised to make the connections veterans need to find the right civilian job and the right civilian community. Where Opportunity Knox also provides a single online source for transitioning families to get the information they need about available jobs, schools, churches, housing and overall quality of life in the Greater Louisville Region.
Where Opportunity Knox was created in order to develop a pipeline of transitioning veterans who are looking for a post-military place to live and work – a place that values veterans, offers a high quality of life and has a diverse and robust economy with available jobs and careers. The Greater Louisville Region is that place and Where Opportunity Knox will make those connections.
“We are honored and thrilled to help transitioning veterans back into the workforce through this collaborative initiative,” said Beth Avey, executive director of the Kentucky Indiana Exchange. “Where Opportunity Knox is a significant resource for all veterans seeking job opportunities in the Greater Louisville Region and we look forward to working with them and participating companies moving forward.”
“When we talk to businesses, either currently in our city or businesses thinking about moving here, one of the first questions they ask is about the talent of our workforce,” said Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville Metro. “Where Opportunity Knox is exactly what employers need, a program to increase talent in our community. Louisville is behind this effort 100% and will help in any way as a 'participating employer.'”
Among several partnering companies, the Duke Energy Foundation recently awarded a $50,000 grant to help fund the Where Opportunity Knox initiative.
“It just makes good business sense, and we're proud to be among the first investors in this program,” said Doug Esamann, president of Duke Energy Indiana.
“It's not only the smart thing to do for our company, it's the right thing to do for those who have done so much for our nation,” added Chris Brice, chief marketing officer of Northwestern Mutual – Louisville, another partnering company.
Where Opportunity Knox is currently funded by the Duke Energy Foundation, the Ogle Foundation and the Gheens Foundation. Kentucky Indiana Exchange (KIX), managed by three regional chambers of commerce including Greater Louisville Inc., the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and One Southern Indiana, designed and implemented this initiative.
For more information on the Where Opportunity Knox initiative and to learn about hiring opportunities for veterans, visit whereopportunityknox.com.
About the Kentucky Indiana Exchange
The Kentucky Indiana Exchange (KIX) is a bi-state regional leadership coalition governed by a board of directors and managed by three regional chambers of commerce: Greater Louisville Inc., the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and One Southern Indiana. To learn more, visit www.kix.com.
Source: Kentucky Indiana Exchange