jobs

Rhonda J. Miller

A global packaging company that’s one of the newest additions to the rapidly growing Kentucky Transpark in Warren County was in the spotlight Thursday.

In a news conference at the site, Governor Andy Beshear said Crown Cork & Seal launched operations in June to manufacture aluminum beverage cans.

"This Crown Cork & Seal facility is pretty incredible," said Beshear. "It's 327,000 square feet that brought 141 quality jobs and it’s designed to produce 2.6 billion cans per year. Folks, that’s two lines capable of producing 2,800 cans per minute.”

Beshear said the facility was built on an aggressive timetable in the midst of a pandemic, with the start of planning in February 2020.

Mike Sprague

Henderson County Schools are hosting an information session Nov. 17 for teachers who might be interested in working as custodians after the school day ends.

Schools across Kentucky are struggling to fill positions ranging from substitute teachers to bus drivers to custodians.

The Courier and Press reports schools in Henderson County are making an effort to fill custodian vacancies by recruiting teachers. The pay is $11 an hour.

High School Librarian Mike Sprague said he found out about the effort in an email from the school district. Sprague is president of the Henderson County Education Association, the local teachers union. 

“I’m sure that there are people out there that wouldn’t mind picking up extra money, I mean, staying still in the school,” said Sprague. “I know a lot of  ‘em work different jobs outside of school, whether it’s Door Dash or working at a restaurant. So, if the pay is better than what they’re making there, and I don’t know if it is or not, it’s an option.”


Kevin Willis | WKYU

Kentucky bourbon makers are celebrating after the European Union lifted tariffs on bourbon and whiskey that were imposed during former President Donald Trump’s administration.

The tariffs started in 2018 in retaliation for Trump’s taxes on EU-produced steel and aluminum, which he claimed were a threat to U.S. national security.

In a statement, Kentucky Distillers Association President Eric Gregory said the tariffs slowed down bourbon exports to the EU by half, costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Kentucky Bourbon exports had enjoyed double-digit growth for a decade before the tariffs were imposed in 2018,” Gregory said.

Bytemarks via Creative Commons

Kentucky Labor Cabinet officials say a new unemployment system will take two years to complete. Until then, the state is trying to make improvements to the outdated system it currently uses.

Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration is still working through more than 84,000 backlogged unemployment claims, a process that dates back to the beginning of the pandemic when systems in Kentucky and the rest of the nation were overwhelmed with an influx of requests for benefits.

During Thursday’s meeting of the Unemployment Insurance Reform Task Force, Labor Cabinet Secretary Jamie Link said before the state gets a new unemployment system, it’ll have to bolster its current one.

“Obviously we’ve got a year and a half or two years before the new system is implemented and we need to make improvements now,” Link said.

Rice's Pharmacy

A recent survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association found that the national shortage of workers across most sectors is impacting pharmacies.

However, a pharmacy with more than 50 years in a small Ohio County community is only experiencing a minor impact on staffing because of many long-time employees.

Rice’s Pharmacy in Beaver Dam usually has a staff of 50 storewide and currently has 45.

CEO David Figg said about 30 to 35 employees work directly in the pharmacy, where the demand for services has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think you’re also seeing that we’re sitting in an uptick time of the year, with COVID vaccinations, and now we’re offering the COVID boosters," said Figg. 

 


Flickr/Creative Commons/TaxCredits.net

A new program is aiming to help Kentuckians with substance abuse issues land—and keep—jobs.

The effort is called the called the Kentucky Transformational Employment Program, or KTEP, and includes several state business, government, and health care groups.

Normally, if an employee tests positive for drugs, they’d be immediately fired. Businesses participating in KTEP will work to get employees struggling with addiction issues into a treatment program, with the goal of having that employee eventually return to the workplace.

LaKisha Miller is the Executive Director of the Kentucky Chamber Foundation, one of the groups that’s part of the effort.

“Through KTEP, what employers are now able to do is they’re able to say, ‘hey, let’s go ahead and pause the employment process at this point’”, Miller said. “We’re now able to say, “we’re going to connect you to treatment, I want to be able to get you some help, and then let’s facilitate the process of getting you back safely to work.’”

J. Tyler Franklin

The Kentucky Department of Education is offering public school employees $100 to get the COVID-19 vaccine before Dec. 1. Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason Glass said the goal is to get more school staff vaccinated.

“Part of it is recognizing and rewarding those staff members who did the right thing early on, and it acts as an incentive for those folks to get vaccinated who have not,” he said in a press call with reporters Friday.

The department will use federal funds to reimburse districts that choose to participate in the program. Glass said KDE has set aside $8.8 million of state federal coronavirus relief funding, enough to give each of Kentucky’s 88,000 school staff $100.

Lisa Autry

More than a dozen Kentucky Career Centers around the state are ready to help what they hope will be an influx of job seekers now that federal unemployment benefits have expired

More than 86,000 Kentuckians were still out of work in July, nearly a year-and-a-half since the start of the pandemic. 

The federal government suspended enhanced unemployment benefits on Sept. 6, and with people losing that extra $300 a week, that could send more looking for work. 

Jon Sowards, head of the South Central Workforce Development Board, said employers have made returning to the workforce more lucrative.

“Ask yourself, 'which side of the wave do you want to be on?'. Do you wanna be on the front side or the back side? If you’re on the front side, right now what we’re seeing is that wages are higher than ever, compensation and benefits packages are better than ever, there’s more bonuses than I’ve ever seen.”

Creative Commons

Kentucky’s economy has largely weathered the coronavirus pandemic so far, though the number of people working is still far below pre-virus levels and the Delta variant threatens to cause more problems.

The state’s unemployment rate in June—the last month available—was 4.4%, far below the national rate of 5.9%.

But University of Kentucky economics professor Michael Clark says the unemployment rate doesn’t account for people who aren’t looking for work and have dropped out of the labor force.

And he says some workers still aren’t rejoining the labor force for a range of reasons like feeling unsafe at work, inability to get childcare and soon-to-expire enhanced unemployment benefits.

Henderson County Schools/Facebook

The shortage of workers is making it difficult for many Kentucky school districts to fill slots for the new academic year.

The Henderson County school district is getting a lot of competition for workers from local businesses, something that's having a big impact on non-teaching positions. 

As the Aug. 11 first day of school approaches in Henderson County, there are 49 open positions across its 13 schools. Seven of those are for certified teachers and 42 are for other staff.

Human Resources Director Jinger Carter said there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of applications for every type of job in the school district. 

Bytemarks via Creative Commons

Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration might partner with the federal government to build a new unemployment insurance system.

Like much of the nation, Kentucky struggled to keep up with a surge of applications for unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Beshear administration has blamed the problems on understaffing, antiquated software and security issues that have led to delays in overhauling the system.

During a legislative hearing on Tuesday, Labor Cabinet Secretary Jamie Link said the federal government is forming a consortium of five or six states to share a “core unemployment system” and Kentucky is considering joining.

But he said the state may decide to overhaul the system on its own.

Facebook/Daviess County Public Schools

After a tumultuous year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky school districts are preparing for a more traditional in-person setting as the new academic year approaches.  

One district in western Kentucky that has 70 open slots is hoping a Saturday job fair will help fill some of those positions. 

Daviess County Schools Human Resources Manager Courtney Payne said the number of open positions is not unusual because this is always a busy time of year for hiring. 

“There may be a few more positions than a typical year, nothing drastic. But we’re seeing a significantly lower number of applicants.," said Payne. "So that has been the biggest struggle that we have faced with Daviess County Public Schools, is the number of applications coming in.”


Kevin Willis

 

The federal government is rescinding thousands of payments promised to struggling restaurants. 

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was meant to provide pandemic relief. Initially, the program offered a 21-day exclusivity period for women, military veterans and “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals” to apply first. But a series of lawsuits halted the program, accusing it of being unfair because it prioritizes businesses owned by women and people of color.

One of the lawsuits was filed in the Eastern District of Tennessee by Antonio Vitolo, the owner of Jake’s Bar and Grill in Harriman, Tenn., who said he was discriminated against because he is a white male. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed.

In light of the court rulings, nearly 3,000 applicants had their grants revoked.

Yasmine Jumaa

Kentucky has the third highest increase in unemployment claims nationally ━ according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of labor ━ with 9,172 new filings. 

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell met with state business officials Monday to talk about Kentucky’s post-pandemic economic recovery. He said the extra $300 in federal benefits is the reason fewer people are returning to the workforce.

“There’s no question that we’d be in better shape if the governor had made a decision to discontinue the federal bonus as 25 other states have,” McConnell said. “I was on a conference call with a group of companies ━ some in Kentucky and some in Indiana ━ and they reported that when the Indiana governor discontinued the extra $300 [per] week bonus, the next day, they got 200 job applications.”

Corrine Boyer

Kentuckians receiving unemployment benefits could be eligible for a $1,500 payment if they re-enter the workforce by the end of July.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the new back-to-work incentive at a press conference Thursday afternoon. Kentucky officials estimate roughly 60,000 residents are receiving $300 in weekly pandemic unemployment assistance on top of state unemployment benefits. The state is setting aside $22.5 million in federal CARES Act funding for the new program, which would cover the incentive payments for 15,000 participants.

Some critics have called for the end of the additional unemployment benefits. Beshear says doing so would harm Kentucky families and the economy.

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