FRANKFORT, Ky. (August 20, 2008) – Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear today announced that the West Kentucky Workforce Investment Board will receive a $250,000 Regional Innovation Grant from the U. S. Department of Labor. The grant will be used to create a regional strategic plan to promote economic growth in nine Kentucky counties and one county in Tennessee.
“West Kentucky’s proximity to Fort Campbell and the Nashville area makes it a prime location to provide better employment opportunities for our citizens,” said Governor Beshear. “A new approach to job creation, education and economic growth is essential to improving Kentucky’s position in the global marketplace and through this initiative the West Kentucky Workforce Investment Board has made that commitment to the citizens it serves.”
Regional Innovation Grants are designed to help workforce agencies initiate comprehensive, sustainable, and integrated regional planning that will prepare workers and businesses to compete and succeed in the 21st century marketplace. State workforce agencies and local workforce investment boards are eligible to receive the awards.
“This gives us an opportunity to examine the pieces of our regional economy and create a comprehensive initiative that could add positive economic alternatives for new industry growth,” said Sheila Clark, West Kentucky Workforce Investment Board director. “We have good partnerships and good resources, but we need to integrate our strengths in education, workforce and economic development toward a new vision.”
Energy, value-added agriculture, health care, biosciences, tourism and advanced manufacturing sectors will be evaluated through the planning process to determine which sectors have greater potential for growth. Specific outcomes for the grant include increased entrepreneurial activities, identifying best practices and long-term investments or policies that lead to sustainable economic growth.
The counties included in the grant are those of the **Purchase Area Development District: Caldwell, Christian, Crittenden, Hopkins, Livingston, Lyon, Muhlenberg, Todd and Trigg**. Tennessee’s Montgomery County completes the 10-county area involved in the initiative.
The West Kentucky Workforce Investment Board also serves the counties of the Purchase Area Development District and is responsible for managing local workforce development projects throughout the Pennyrile/Purchase regions.
**Editor's Note - These counties are in the Pennyrile ADD - not the Purchase ADD