Call to Order and Roll Call
The4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment was held on Thursday, September 1, 2016, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Fitz Steele, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Jared Carpenter, Co-Chair; Representative Fitz Steele, Co-Chair; Senators C.B. Embry Jr., Chris Girdler, Ernie Harris, Paul Hornback, John Schickel, Brandon Smith, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Hubert Collins, Tim Couch, Jim DuPlessis, Daniel Elliott, Reginald Meeks, Rick G. Nelson, Lewis Nicholls, Marie Rader, John Short, Kevin Sinnette, Jim Stewart III, and Chuck Tackett.
Guests: Jeff Whitehead, Executive Director, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program; Owen Grise, Deputy Director, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program; and Laura Cole, Kentucky Oil & Gas Association.
Upon motion made by Representative Collins and second by Senator Girdler, the August 4, 2016 minutes were approved by voice vote and without objection.
Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program Presentation
Jeff Whitehead, Executive Director, and Owen Grise, Deputy Director, of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP), testified on the workforce development and mine worker retraining programs administered by EKCEP. Headquartered in Hazard, Kentucky, EKCEP operates the Kentucky Career Center JobSight network of workforce centers. EKCEP provides access to more than a dozen state and federal programs that offer employment and training assistance for nearly 500,000 people in 23 mountain counties in eastern Kentucky.
EKCEP officials explained some of the training programs and workforce opportunities offered, such as electrical lineman and fiber optic training, telework training through Teleworks USA, and the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E) programs. They also discussed the impending announcement of the results from the Eastern Kentucky Works Workforce Study, which will detail current workforce readiness in the region for various industries and occupations. Results from the study will be used to assist in strategic planning and help in recruiting new businesses and economic investment to the region.
Representative Steele and Senator Smith expressed regret for the sudden loss of Chris Engle and praised his work for EKCEP.
Representative Steele thanked the Kentucky Coal Association and David Moss for their partnership with EKCEP.
Responding to a comment from Representative Couch, EKCEP officials explained that lineman and railroad jobs are considered traveling jobs for people who live in all regions of the state. However, the training for these jobs is local for the people of eastern Kentucky.
Responding to a question from Senator Turner, EKCEP officials said that they would be happy to help any former land men referred to their program.
Representative DuPlessis thanked EKCEP officials for their presentation and commented on reforming education in order for young adults out of school to know how to do Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining or Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) coding.
Representative Meeks asked for a copy of the Eastern Kentucky Workforce Study to better understand the study’s findings. Representative Meeks commented that the workforce circumstances for people in eastern Kentucky are similar to situations that occur in urban communities.
Responding to a comment from Representative Rader, EKCEP officials agreed that Teleworks USA is creating many opportunities for people in eastern Kentucky. EKCEP officials explained that instilling hope and helping people re-envision themselves are important aspects of their work.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned. The documents distributed during the meeting are available in the LRC Library.