Urban County Council looks at creative ways to bring workers to Lexington

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council is looking at creative ways to bring highly-trained workers to Lexington.

Kentucky Remote, in partnership with Awesome, Inc., proposed the Urban County Council allocate $3.4 million to launch a two-year pilot program to assist with recruiting and relocating about 200 remote workers to Lexington.

“Our main ask from the City is to get this thing launched, and to get this launched quickly so that we can run this two-year pilot… and then we have other resources that we’ll be able to pursue once we’ve proven the model to be able to garner long-term support<” said Awesome, Inc. and APAX Software Co-Founder and CEO Brian Raney.

With a high demand in remote workers, Lexington Remote hopes particularly to attract STEM workers. Lexington Remote claims there’s a strong projected return in community investment.

However, some council members voiced concerns about the plan’s opportunities for minority workers, as well as the plan’s sustainability post-pandemic.

“But let me ask you, was this something that was going to be considered prior to the pandemic? Or are we just seeing a trend in regards to telework and that it’s going to go the other way once we get past the pandemic?” said District 1 Councilmember James Brown.

Kentucky Remote says that remote work won’t be going away after the pandemic ends.

“Right now is when people are moving. So they just got their remote job and there’s twenty million people across the US that are relocating. And we want to capture that wave now. We don’t see remote work going away after the pandemic,” said VP of Operations Hannah Conover.

Kentucky Remote says the model will attract STEM workers and workers in other cutting-edge industries to Lexington.

The Urban County Council also heard from Commerce Lexington, which proposed using the additional $300,000 in economic development funds from Fiscal Year 2021 to create a partnership with the city and Bluegrass Community and Technical College to educate, train, and place nurse aides in hospitals amidst the healthcare worker shortage.

“We’re going to offer training that’s covered, so there’s no cost to them. Hopefully they will be interested in the position, they’ll be employed by one of our healthcare partners here in town, to go to be certified for eight weeks as a nurse and go right into a new position here in Lexington,” said Business and Education Network Executive Director Betsy Dexter.

The plan suggested using this same model for other industries, such as manufacturing.

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