• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

EDA discusses workforce development

The Woodford County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Friday, Aug. 25 meeting once again focused on plans to make more Woodford County residents eligible for an influx of new jobs at local industries. Treasurer Mike Coleman spoke of the Aug. 17 expungement and GED pre-testing session held at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) headquarters, an event he and Soper helped organize and attended. Coleman said he was pleasantly surprised that 42 people attended on a week night, 39 of whom came to find out whether their criminal convictions could be expunged and how to start that process. Expunged criminal records can make people far more employable. Three other attendees took the GED assessment. Coleman said he'd like to have another expungement/GED session this fall. "They say the first one is kind of an inaugural, foundation-builder. The next one is, you have a greater response, and I'd like to maybe try that before we get to the holidays, if it's possible," he said. Soper praised KCTCS officials for their work, saying that the lawyers and others who'd come to help called it "the greatest set-up they'd ever had." "We are so blessed to have your facility and your cooperation, Paul ..." Soper said to EDA member Paul Schreffler, the KCTCS vice chancellor for Economic Development and Workforce Solutions. Apprenticeship program Soper said he was trying to enlist a "very busy" state Labor Commissioner to work on a program that would allow minors to get part-time jobs in local factories. "That's going to be a big issue, if we can accomplish that and get the manufacturing people to get over their fear of liability, and I think the Labor Commissioner said there are some ways about that ..." Soper said. Soper said concern over liability could be a "fundamental hurdle" for an apprenticeship program in the works at Woodford County High School (WCHS) that aims to get graduates into good-paying jobs. Soper said WCHS teachers will tour local manufacturing plants in November. "This is critical. We've got to get our teachers and our counselors and our administrators to understand what the opportunities are at these manufacturing environments ..." he said. Economic development course EDA member William Downey said he spent the first four days of the week in Lexington at a course sponsored by the Kentucky Institute of Development, calling it a "great training program." Downey said his employer, R.J. Corman, paid his expenses for the course, and that the program's teachings on workforce development and in other areas would benefit his work with the EDA. Soper said he attended the program last year and found the economic development connections he made there invaluable. Lakeshore Learning Materials EDA member Katie Vandegrift said Lakeshore Learning Materials at Midway Station has hired 55 people and is trying to focus on Midway residents. Soper said the company has a sign up letting people know they accept walk-in applications, which Vandegrift said can be done Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Executive session The group held two executive sessions to discuss pending and potential land sales, but took no action after either of them.

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