Beshear reorganizing two cabinets to head of future unemployment issues

Bids for massive new computer system being reviewed

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gov. Andy Beshear provided his Team Kentucky update news conference to discuss the state’s new jobs announcements as well as provide an update on COVID-19. But perhaps the biggest announcement was a major reoganization of unemployment insurance processing to avoid problems in the future should the state have another pandemic-like crisis.

First, Beshear congratulated Toyota for its recently announced plan to invest $461 million for continued upgrades at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) in Georgetown. To learn more, see the full release.

“For 35 years, Toyota has been part of the landscape of Kentucky, and we are thankful for the strong support of our elected officials, our community members and business partners, and most importantly, our team members,” said Susan Elkington, president of TMMK. “Even with many challenges in 2021, in the last nine months, our team members produced the plant’s 13 millionth vehicle, our 14 millionth engine and our 10 millionth Camry. This investment means current and future production team members will be offered a direct job and will have the pride of building a career at Toyota as a team member from day one.”

The governor said his administration is moving forward with a merger of the Labor Cabinet and Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The Governor said his administration has taken several steps to address the unemployment insurance system, which has suffered from years of funding and staffing cuts, including: working to get a new UI system in place, implementing a new ID process to help eliminate fraudulent claims and seeking funding to support sufficient staff. The Governor said the merger is a new, fourth initiative.

“We’ve had an opportunity to talk to numerous folks about this and we believe, and our feedback is that education and workforce are inseparable. They are inseparable whether we’re talking about training, whether we’re talking about K-12 and then going into the workforce, whether we’re talking about K-college or graduate school into the workforce,” said the Governor. “This is a continuum, and it’s been recognized as such by the country, for instance the grants, that we have a hard time competing for because of the current structure. So we believe that this is a positive step that will make us more competitive but also more resilient.”

“Our agencies work together to give the citizens an opportunity to experience transformational change by obtaining a great education and quality training that can lead to a meaningful career and greater prosperity for their families,” said Labor Cabinet Secretary Jamie Link. “By combining these two cabinets, we will be able to develop a comprehensive workforce development strategy to meet the needs of the many economic development projects that are happening at an unprecedented pace.”

To watch the Governor full remarks, click here.

Beshear signed an executive order that qualifies every person 18 or older and living or working in the commonwealth to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster six months after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or two months after a single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

“Make sure when you sit down at that Thanksgiving table with the people you love from multiple generations, you have the highest level of immunity to protect them,” said Gov. Beshear. “And if you’ve got kids like mine who are 5 and older, please get them at least their first vaccination dose before Thanksgiving.”

As of today, 446,698 Kentuckians have had a vaccination booster. To learn more, see the full release.

Team Kentucky All-Stars
Beshear honored Dr. Everett McCorvey as a Team Kentucky All-Star. Dr. McCorvey is a professor at the University of Kentucky’s College of Fine Arts, in the School of Music, who teaches music performance and voice and also serves as the chair of opera studies. The Governor said he was appointing Dr. McCorvey as chair of the Kentucky Arts Council.

“Thank you Gov. Beshear for this wonderful honor. It was the arts that got me up every day to go to school as a child in Alabama, so that I could participate in the band. When I came to Kentucky, I realized this state has a very rich history in the arts,” said Dr. McCorvey. “With all of the economic development, with people coming into the commonwealth, they’re going to want to have a place to go and visit the arts, to see all the wonderful places in Kentucky where the arts are happening. I am looking forward to serving on Team Kentucky.”

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