Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Workforce Initiatives

The primary purpose of Kentucky’s postsecondary education institutions is to produce adaptive, highly skilled workers to fuel the economy. To strengthen the system’s outcomes, the Council’s Workforce Initiatives Unit focuses on aligning state workforce needs with higher education’s initiatives, programs and curriculums.

Currently, the Council is working with employers to increase the healthcare talent pipeline, however future priority areas slated are education and advanced manufacturing.

Healthcare-Focused Initiatives

High-Need Area: Healthcare

Frontline Healthcare Workers

According to state officials, Kentucky’s nursing workforce is operating with a staff shortage of 12 to 20%. In addition to current deficits, it is projected that 16,000 additional nurses will be needed by 2024. Shortages such as these, coupled with the high prevalence of Kentucky residents with multiple chronic conditions, make it a state imperative to improve and expand the state’s cadre of frontline healthcare professionals.

However, Kentucky’s colleges and universities are facing several challenges to address these gaps:

Mental/Behavioral Health Counselors

Another critical workforce shortage in healthcare is behavioral health. Workforce projections estimate nearly 25,000 openings will need to be filled by 2026. Of these, 30% are expected to result from economic growth and 70% are from current workers leaving the labor force.

The Council’s Career Ladders in Mental and Behavioral Health (CLIMB-Health) is an initiative associated with Kentucky’s Healthcare Workforce Collaborative. The program, based out of KCTCS, focuses on creating postsecondary pathways for individuals in recovery/reentry programs to become peer specialists.

Staff Contacts

If you are an employer interested in creating partnerships with a postsecondary institution or learning about what grant opportunities exist to help us increase the talent pool in your region, contact us!

Leslie M. Sizemore, PhD, EdS, OTR/L
Assistant Vice President, CPE Workforce Initiatives | 606-813-3212

Michaela Mineer
Senior Associate, CPE Workforce Initiatives | 502-892-3040

Carl Wilson
Senior Fellow, CLIMB-Health/CPE Workforce Initiatives | 502-892-3204

Last Updated: 10/26/2023