Kentucky employers face ongoing workforce challenges, but state policymakers can take action to address them, according to Charles Aull, Executive Director of the Kentucky Chamber Center for Policy and Research.
Workforce participation remains below pre-pandemic levels, with a notable deficit among 25-54-year-olds. In May 2023, Kentucky had 20,000 fewer workers than in January 2020, while job demand remains high. The aging population and slower population growth are expected to perpetuate hiring difficulties, with one in four Americans expected to be 65 or older by 2060. Kentucky already shows signs of these changes, with a quarter of its workforce over 55 in 2022, up from 14% in 2002.
To address these challenges, Aull suggests public and private sector collaboration.
“Specific policy examples mentioned by Aull included ensuring an attractive state tax code; increasing access to affordable, quality child care; encouraging employment among Kentuckians with histories of substance use disorder and criminal records; developing statewide strategies to optimize underutilized populations like refugees, immigrants, and individuals with disabilities; and targeting state financial aid programs to respond to workforce needs and employer demand.” 🟢
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