BLUEGRASS WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD WEIGHS IN ON LEXINGTON MINIMUM WAGE DEBATE
Lexington, KY, September 14, 2015– In an Executive Committee meeting of the Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board held on Tuesday, September 8th, members were provided with a brief presentation from Councilwoman Amanda Bledsoe (10th District) regarding Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s ongoing debate pertaining to a city-wide minimum wage increase.
Tracy Pratt-Savage, Chair of the Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board (BGWIB), said, “While we applaud, in principal, Lexington's desire to raise the minimum wage, the Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board would ask that Lexington move slowly and cautiously to consider the negative impact any minimum wage hike would have on both outlining areas and the programs that the BGWIB administers. For instance, the work-based learning program for youth that the board oversees would only be able to employ about half the ‘at-risk’ students we can offer ‘first’ jobs to (at $10.10 vs. a $7.25 wage) in the 17 counties we serve.
For that reason we support those who favor a more cautious approach of raising the minimum wage in small steps, over time, with exemptions for internships and educational training in line with federal guideline.”
Four (4) of the five (5) Executive Committee members voted for the recommendation, with one (1) choosing to recommend postponing the increase discussion altogether until Louisville’s current legal challenge to their minimum wage hike is settled. Ms. Pratt-Savage added her thoughts behind the recommendation, stating, “Lexington is not in a vacuum. Anything Fayette County does, will affect surrounding areas, consumers, employees and employers.”
The BGWIB represents a 17-county area in Central Kentucky, a region comprised of a number of rural counties, such as Boyle, Estill, Garrard, Harrison, Nicholas, and Powell. The Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board: “Connecting Employers with Employees”
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Attention to Employers Brings High Demand Jobs to Job Seekers
By Terri Darr McLean
Not long ago, the Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board made an about-face in its efforts to help unemployed workers find jobs.
Instead of focusing on the needs of the job seekers - many of whom have been out of work for months - the board shifted its attention to employers, especially those who had jobs that needed to be filled. They even changed their mission statement to “Connecting employers with employees.”
“We’re no longer just training individuals, we’re training them for the right job,” said Jennifer Compton, associate director of Bluegrass WIB, the official agency created under the federal Workforce Investment Act. (Read more...)