Throughout the Lincoln Trail region, we have people who are able and willing to work but don’t have jobs and career opportunities go unfilled because employers can’t find qualified candidates.

In fact, 81 percent of Ken­tucky employers reported they are ready to grow in the next three to five years, but most of those companies cannot find workers with the skills they need today, according to the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management Council.

Workforce and economic development professionals, employers, educators and community leaders in our region continuously are working to find new ways to grow our skilled workforce and connect employers with the right talent. And soon, our local communities will have access to a new tool — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Talent Pipeline Management system, for which the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center is leading implementation across the state.

Borrowing from supply chain principles, TPM identifies specific workforce needs and develops an agile model to align education and training programs and other solutions with the fast-changing needs of today’s businesses.

I’m excited to be one of three Lincoln Trail representatives chosen to serve as local champions in this initiative.

The Kentucky Chamber also tapped Samantha Brady, executive director of the Bard­stown-Nelson County Cham­ber of Commerce, and Carter Dyson, One-Stop director for the Kentucky Career Center-Lincoln Trail, as local champions.

Brady, Dyson and I currently are training in TPM strategies to build talent supply chains and launch the initiative locally.

As executive director of the Springfield-Washington County Economic Development Auth­ority and a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board, I can tell you that employers’ role in workforce solutions is critical. With that in mind, TPM gives our employers the lead and it will complement our region’s ongoing efforts to address the workforce crisis.

The process will provide more granular data to help our region address workforce challenges across high-demand industries including advanced manufacturing, health care, technology and business services, construction and logistics.

We will gain a more comprehensive understanding of employment demand projections so we can develop better strategies to help employers find the right talent in the right communities at the right time.

First, TPM will allow us an opportunity to plan for demand with data addressing the number of employees needed, when they are needed and in exactly which communities they are needed.

“The second part of that data looks at what employers need in the hiring process — the credentials, competencies and skills that are going to make employees successful,” said Kentucky Chamber Talent Pipeline Sys­tem Leader Josh Williams.

This data will help identify our region’s employers’ unique pain points such as specific skill sets or credentials that are difficult to find locally. Armed with this data, our region can develop and implement better strategies to address these needs and pain points. Once the strategies are established TPM is measurable and will help us identify what’s working and what we need to adjust.

Development of employer groups is underway and by July 2020, these groups are to begin developing talent pipelines for 65 high-demand positions across the state.

“TPM empowers business to enhance partnerships with education and workforce leaders to close the skills gap and build the workforce of tomorrow,” Williams said.

More information about the TPM process in our region will be available soon. To learn how to get involved, employers and educators can email me at daniel@sweda.org; Carter Dyson at carter.dyson@ky.gov; or Samantha Brady at samantha@bardstownchamber.com.

Daniel Carney is the executive director of the Springfield-Washington County Economic Development Authority and a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. He can be reached at Daniel@sweda.org or 859-481-1437.