The Cumberlands Workforce Development Board October meeting featured an update from Russell County Jailer Bobby Dunbar and Russell County Attorney Kevin Shearer on Russell County's Pre-Release program’s initial inmate information session recently held at the Russell County Detention Center. The purpose of the pre-release program, or LEAP (Linking Employment to Activities Pre-Release), is to successfully bring those with felonies or misdemeanors, or who have extremely low income, into the workforce.
The pre-release program recently provided a group of Russell County inmates with comprehensive resources to help them access pre-employment necessities that many take for granted, such as locating birth certificates, social security cards, identification, etc. The pre-release program partners also provide resources to offer assistance with things like job search, resumes, interview skills, transportation, and even interview clothing. The program’s initial group of inmates have noted an overwhelming success rate with post-incarceration employment.
Recently Dr. Richard Miles, a family medicine specialist in Russell Springs, gave the Cumberlands Workforce Development Board an overview of the current state of Substance Use Disorder in a presentation titled "SUD as a Chronic Brain Disease.” Dr. Miles offered a better understanding of addiction, its causes and most effective treatments to help mediate the issues of addiction in the workforce.
“Substance Use Disorder is a Chronic Medical Disease and from a public health perspective, it is mandatory that we as physicians and providers treat the disease,” says Miles. He urges employers to recalibrate their understanding of addiction in the workforce, stating "Addiction is a brain disorder, not a character disorder."
Each of Kentucky’s 10 Local Workforce Areas (LWA) is expected to have at least 33 occupations grow by 20 percent or more in the next 10 years. The Cumberlands LWA is projected to be the fastest-growing job region in the state during the 2016-2026 projection period with an expected growth of 12.53 percent or 14,194 new job openings.
Read the full story in The Lane Report
STEARNS, Ky. – Gov. Matt Bevin, Congressman Hal Rogers, Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News anchor, joined local officials and executives today from Fibrotex USA for a ribbon-cutting celebration for the company’s first manufacturing facility in the United States, established through a partnership with Outdoor Venture Corp. (OVC). It is expected to create up to 350 full-time jobs via a $12.1 million investment.
“This exciting project will create substantial new economic opportunity in Southeast Kentucky, while also providing crucial, high-tech products for our nation’s armed forces,” Gov. Bevin said. “Outdoor Venture Corporation has been an integral part of McCreary County’s industrial sector for more than 35 years, and it is great to see the company bring another great business to the region. We thank both OVC and Fibrotex USA for the vital work they do—and for their commitment to utilizing Kentucky’s strong workforce to accomplish their mission.”
As a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers worked to secure the resources for this and other vital initiatives that support American troops and jobs.
“Fibrotex is a perfect fit for Southern Kentucky. We have the best workforce in the country and a long history of faithful service to our military and our allied forces,” said Congressman Rogers. “I take great pride in knowing that we are producing specialized equipment for the Army in McCreary County, and I believe this new partnership between Fibrotex USA and OVC will impact our rural region for years to come. I applaud J.C. Egnew’s perseverance to create jobs at OVC and extend greater opportunities to our incredible workforce. I also appreciate the long-standing commitments that USDA-Rural Development and Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation have invested to support on-going growth at OVC.”
Announced in October 2018, Fibrotex USA was awarded a 10-year, $480 million contract to supply Ultra-Lightweight Camouflage Net Systems (ULCANS) to the US Army. As a strategic subcontractor, OVC assisted Fibrotex USA in establishing a new manufacturing location in Stearns. Leaders at the companies project creating 150 jobs at the new Fibrotex facility to manufacture material used in ULCAN and additional signature management technologies moving forward. The investment includes accommodation for a 200-job expansion at OVC’s McCreary County operation. The ULCANS is a modular camouflage system used to conceal military equipment, facilities, troops and other assets in a wide variety of environments.
“Today more than ever, our troops are facing a near-peer enemy with capabilities that did not exist nor were in play for the last two decades,” said Eyal Malleron, CEO of Fibrotex USA. “This new threat requires us to re-adopt and relearn camouflage, concealment and deception doctrines more than ever. We are excited provide this exact solution to the US Army via the ULCANS with the strategic assistance of OVC and the extraordinary workforce in Kentucky."
“This is an important long-term partnership that we are building in McCreary County to supply products directly to the Army,” said JC Egnew, president and CEO of OVC. “I anticipate this friendship will far exceed the next decade.”
Founded in Stearns in 1972, OVC is a prime supplier of next-generation military tent systems for the U.S. Department of Defense, allied international governments and private industry. The company got its start with commercial tent manufacturing, since expanding its product offering to include sleeping bags, military tents, hunting products, basecamp units, fire containment covers, mining chambers and automotive airbags. OVC operates four facilities in McCreary County, where the company employs 225 people.
For more than 50 years, Israel-based Fibrotex Technologies has developed and manufactured innovative signature management systems for armed forces and law enforcement around the world. Fibrotex USA manufactures customizable systems used by the US military, including lightweight, reversible textiles that prevent sensor detection including UV, visual, NIR, SWIR, thermal IR and radar.
Sen. Max Wise, of Campbellsville, said the investment is a significant marker of growth in the region.
“I am pleased to recognize Fibrotex USA for investing in our district with this historic expansion project affording McCreary County 350 jobs,” Sen. Wise said. “Fibrotex USA is making a monumental impact in Kentucky’s workforce and our military.”
Rep. Ken Upchurch, of Monticello, noted the great work done by both companies.
“I’m thrilled to see Fibrotex follow in the footsteps of Outdoor Venture Corp. and invest in our community,” Rep. Upchurch said. “Not only are we going to see a major impact from the 350 new jobs, but I think our community can have a big sense of pride in the fact that something we make here will be helping the men and women in our armed forces.”
Nathan Nevels, deputy judge-executive and director of economic development in McCreary County, said the project will be a major boon for the local workforce.
“As our county’s director of economic development, I am very excited about the influx of new job opportunities in Stearns,” Nevels said. “We have a strong history of supporting our military’s needs for tents and other equipment, and Fibrotex will complement these resources and provide added safety and concealability for our troops and their equipment. I consider it a huge honor that a company from Israel has chosen my home for their new production facility.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December 2018 approved OVC for up to $200,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA) based on a $12.1 million investment. KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
In addition, OVC can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.
To learn more about Outdoor Venture Corp. at www.OutdoorVenture.com. For more information on Fibrotex USA, visit www.FibrotexUSA.com.
A detailed community profile for McCreary County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.
Cumberlands Workforce Development Director, Myra Wilson was invited to speak at a recent Wayne County Chamber of Commerce meeting. Director Wilson spoke to a group of community partners about Russell County's pre-release program or LEAP (Linking Employment to Activities Pre-Realease. The purpose of the Pre-Release Program is to successfully bring those with felonies or misdemeanors or who have extremely low income into the workforce. Cumberlands workforce Development and the Pre-release program are working together with key members of our communities to eliminate barriers to employment and self-sufficiency.
A number of community partners were present at the Wayne County Extension Office for the Chamber meeting. Pictured below from left to right are Director, Myra Wilson, Monticello Mayor, Traci Sexton, Cumberlands Workforce Development Board Chairman, Sam Brown, and Wayne County Extension Agent, Glen Roberts.
Cumberlands Workforce Development is joining forces with South Central Kentucky Workforce Development to maximize their impact through combined efforts. Recently, Cumberlands Workforce Development Director, Myra Wilson and Lake Cumberland Area Development District Director, Darryl McGaha attended the South Central Kentucky Workforce Development board meeting as part of a critical partnership to develop and execute a Regional Strategic Plan.
Much of the meeting was spent developing the Regional Strategic Plan, as well as discussing work-based learning as an avenue to provide young adults in our region the means to gain on-the-job knowledge that’s crucial to future employment. Our collaboration with South Central shows wonderful promise.
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