Training KY workers a priority, but Bevin and Stumbo clash on be - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Training KY workers a priority, but Bevin and Stumbo clash on best approach

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There’s a sharp disagreement about the best way to train Kentucky workers for 21st century jobs.

The Republican governor wants to invest millions of dollars directly into workforce development.

The Democratic House Speaker wants to fund scholarships.

It's all part of the battle over the budget.

It's final exam day for Angela Goldring, and there's a special guest on hand to view her last project: Gov. Matt Bevin.

Goldring is a registered nurse about to graduate from Norton Healthcare's nurse practitioner school.

It's part of Norton's workforce development program, helping employees train for higher-level and higher-paying jobs.

“I will be a family nurse practitioner at one of the Norton community medical associate offices starting now. Then, who knows,” Goldring told WDRB News.

The governor came to Norton to see workforce development in action.

His proposed budget includes $100 million in bonds to fund workforce training.

“It will be for these exact types of jobs. We need trained healthcare professionals at every level. We need advanced manufacturing capabilities at every level,” said Bevin.

But House Speaker Greg Stumbo has a different idea.

He wants to fund so-called "Workforce Ready Scholarships" to help students offset tuition for community and technical college.

“We talk a lot about student debt, we talk a lot about how we prepare generations of Kentuckians for the challenges of the 21st century job market, and this addresses a lot of those concerns,” said Stumbo.

But Bevin says Stumbo's plan fails to solve the specific problem of training workers for in-demand jobs.

“We've got to start to be intentional. It's not just going to college. It's not just getting a two- or four- year degree. What are you studying, and why? What is the end goal? What is the end purpose? That is really what I'm focusing on,” said Bevin.

The man in charge of workforce development at Norton says any state program must also include the private sector.

“It needs to be private and public partnerships, and not just government supplying money or private industry. Working together as partners, we can grow the workforce of the future for our state,” Tony Bohn, Norton’s Chief Human Resources Officer.

Lawmakers must soon decide between the competing programs, or find a compromise.

The session ends April 12.

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