People have the appropriate skills to maintain a living wage employment.

Priority Focus Area: Individuals have the training and skills needed to obtain and maintain family-sustaining employment.

1. Increase/create employment opportunities for individuals with criminal records and/or individuals with substance abuse disorder through training/reengagement in education.
2. Provide support and education on training/post-secondary programs for individuals 18 and older that have or have not graduated high school but have not moved on to post-secondary programs and/or do not have sustaining employment.
3. Increase knowledge of, and/or access to training and education opportunities (i.e., credential training, soft skills development, paid work experience, etc.) for individuals that are under-employed or unemployed to access employment matching their skill set.

People in Southern Kentucky expressed that skill development, sustainable employment, and job availability are among the most important issues to be addressed in the community:


#7: The community retains and attracts businesses that provide good jobs.
#9: People have the opportunities and skills to maintain meaningful living-wage employment.


“We need more people who are workforce ready.”
“I want a productive community where people have jobs and are able to provide for their families.”
” It’s surprising how many employee candidates in Southern Kentucky lack the basic skills of how to get a job… resumes, how to dress, and interview skills.”
” It was easier to manipulate the system to get what I wanted when I was using drugs and not trying to create a better life for myself… it makes it hard not to want to go back to that world.”


Families with children under five living below poverty ranged from as low as 18% in Edmonson County to a high of 35% in Allen and Hart Counties. - U.S. Census Bureau, Selected Economic Characteristics, 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates

* 4 of the 10 counties in the BRADD region exceed the state's average for unemployment. - Kentucky Labor Market Information, 2012-13 Kentucky Labor Force Estimates


Research tells us that the ability to earn a living wage that is capable of providing for a family is based on many factors including educational achievement, skill set, work experience, and the availability of appropriate jobs. When families achieve and maintain self-sufficiency, they are more likely to have access to a broader range of educational, economic, and health-related opportunities. Conversely, those who are unemployed or underemployed are most likely to find themselves living in poverty with issues related to Education, Health, and Safety Net