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Kentucky offers $1,500 incentive to get people on unemployment back to work

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Posted at 11:25 PM, Jun 24, 2021

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced a new incentive to try to get people currently on unemployment back to work Thursday afternoon. The state plans to offer $1,500 to residents of the Commonwealth who return to the workforce by the end of July.

Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, an economic development group which connects industries in the region with resources, released the results of a survey this week that indicated the workforce shortage was one of the biggest challenges for local companies. One way the commonwealth wants to address that is with new incentives to get people back to work.

“It’s gigantic,” NKY Tri-ED president Lee Crume said. “It’s the biggest issue. We recently did a survey of 86 of the companies that we work with, and every single one of them listed it.”

With many companies relocating to or expanding in the area, he said there aren’t enough workers to keep up.

“We’ve got a whole lot of new and existing jobs that are open for people,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said while announcing the incentive. “You go back to March or April of last year, we would’ve prayed for that challenge. And no one factor is going to solve it.”

In order to encourage people to give up the $300 weekly pandemic unemployment assistance, Beshear is offering $1,500 to the first 15,000 qualifying Kentuckians who go back to work by July 30.

“Anything that helps our employers in the community get the workforce they need is a great idea,” Crume said.

He said leaders from all corners of the Tri-State should work together and encourage more people to move here so they can meet the workforce needs now and in the future. He said the focus should be on improving things like infrastructure, public transportation, education and child care.

“Getting people off of unemployment is only a short-term fix,” Crume said. “We’ve got to grow the population pie of our community.”

Northern Kentucky Tri-ED said it plans to work with community leaders and elected officials to try and develop long-term solutions to this widespread workforce shortage.