Muhlenberg Job Corps Center

MJCC hosts bi-annual Industry Council meeting

June 8th, 2018

Legislators, employer partners and Kentucky Labor Cabinet attend
Every six months, the Muhlenberg Job Corps Center holds its Center Industry
Council meeting to get input from industry leaders about training, educating
and developing its students to join a skilled labor pool. Additionally CIC
members get updates about the center’s progress. Typically attendants are
employers who partner with Job Corps to recruit employees.

The meeting became an exception to the norm when State
Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty requested the attendance of the
members of the West Kentucky Caucus to discuss how Job Corps is an asset
to the Kentucky workforce, and learn about the pre-apprenticeship programs
that may be offered through Job Corps.

“It is important that we get the word out to Kentucky high school graduates that this is an opportunity available to them right at their backdoor. With less than 20% Kentucky student population for this center, it is important that Kentucky students understand what Job Corps really is! Many people, including myself, thought or still think that Job Corps is a program for troubled youth. In reality, it is a wonderful opportunity for any eligible youth to get training in highly sought skills for the Commonwealth workforce.” Said Prunty, who committed to raising awareness about the opportunities available through Job Corps for Kentucky youth.

T he support was overwhelming from a diverse group of engaged individuals
who seek to improve the Kentucky workforce and use Job Corps as a valuable
tool to do it. In all, 31 people attended. Notable attendees included the Deputy
Secretary of Labor Mike Nemes; State Representative Walker Thomas; State
Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty; State Senator CB Embry; Rebecca
Rittenhouse, field representative for Gov. Matt Bevin; Beaver Dam Mayor and
Ritatsu General Manager Paul Sandefur; Ritatsu Plant Manager Mike
Bumgardener; Carol Rice, director of nursing for Diversicare of Greenville;
Lena Ward, nurse educator for Diversicare of Greenville; Jordan Lanham,
owner of Western Kentucky Minerals; Matt Perkins from the Muhlenberg
County Board of Education; Kenny Autry, workforce development director for
Ohio County; Brittany Bowers, HR interviewer for Perdue Farms, Cromwell
plant; Steve Tressler, registered apprenticeship coordinator for the Kentucky
Labor Cabinet; and Commissioner Ervin Deminy of the Kentucky Labor
Cabinet.

The majority of the meeting focused on the development of apprenticeship
programs in which MJCC students would receive credit for their time in Job
Corps and be an excellent labor pool for employers seeking apprentices.
Employer partners and legislators alike were surprised by the many options
available for Kentucky youth through the Job Corps program and Kentucky
registered apprenticeships. “This is one of the best kept secrets in Kentucky,”
said Rep. Thomas.

“There are over 1,200 apprenticable occupations currently in Kentucky. Almost
anything can be apprenticed,” said Steve Tressler, the registered
apprenticeship coordinator for the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. “What we are
asking of employers is to help to train their own future workforce. It’s good for
everyone. There are so many different avenues that businesses can take to
create a talented workforce through apprenticeships, and Job Corps can front
load the classroom hours and training for many of the occupations at no cost
to the employer.”

Members of the West Kentucky Caucus also learned about the eligibility
criteria for the Job Corps program.

M JCC students Kyle Baker, Shetarra Smith and Rachel Parsley told the
council about their experiences at Job Corps, what they plan to do upon
graduation, and why Job Corps is a great option for future recruits.

MJCC hosted a tour of the campus for all attendees after the council meeting,
and students and staff showed visitors their abilities, equipment, curriculum,
and career plans.