NEW ALBANY - Workforce development organizations in Indiana and Kentucky are furthering their collaborative efforts. Officials from the Region 10 Workforce Board Inc. in southern Indiana and KentuckianaWorks in Louisville have signed a Bi-State Regional Workforce Plan after more than a year of preparations. The groups say the plan is one of the first of its kind to be created under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Ron McKulick, executive director of the Region 10 Workforce Board, says the two organizations share a labor market with their 13 combined counties comprising the bi-state Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area. He says after 15 years of working together, the new plan seemed like the logical next step and they were looking to get it started even without the WIOA.

"But, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act has regulations and guidance in it that speaks specifically to doing labor market planning in ways that really represent one's regional economy, including regional economies across state lines," said McKulick. "It encourages regions who have that kind of look to go that route if they can go that route and they feel it makes sense for them to do that."

The organizations say the goal of the Regional Workforce Plan is to offer both job seekers and employers who need workers a streamlined experience that is not limited by state boundaries. The plan lists five goals the partners aim to achieve:

  1. Provide information and appropriate employer connections to schools to align the student pipeline to the current and projected skill needs of regional employers
  2. Increase the skills, credentials, and wages of current workers.
  3. Expand the size of the labor force.
  4. Increase the efficiency of employer engagement and core services to employers on a regional basis.
  5. Create the structure for ongoing sharing of plans, data, and outcome metrics among key regional partners.

"The plan includes working with high schools, working with sectors, working with special populations of the workforce to help expand the size of the workforce, as well as the quality of the workforce," said McKulick. "In all instances, (the goal is) that it is employer-driven and industry-driven so that we're playing to the needs of employers now and into the future and, at the same time, helping to shape out career paths that are viable for the wide range of job seekers that we serve with the idea that those job seekers gain a good entry level job to start their work life and career or to build a career pathway that really provides the individual a family-sustaining income."

McKulick says a "core team" of representatives from both organizations, as well as education, economic development, and chamber of commerce officials will convene to determine the first steps to take under the new plan. 

You can view the full plan below: