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Guest Opinion
Winning the career Derby

by Elaine L. Chao

It takes more than a horse with great ability to win the Kentucky Derby. It takes training and preparation as well.

This is also true for workers in today’s rapidly changing world economy. More than ever, staying in school and continuous education are the keys to a brighter future.

Our nation’s economy is creating new jobs—thanks to a climate that encourages growth by reducing excessive taxation, over-regulation, and abusive litigation. Our nation has added more than 4.8 million net new jobs over the last two and a half years. But many of these require higher skills and education. Experts predict that over the next 10 years, more than 60 percent of the new jobs in the fastest growing (and better paying) occupations will require postsecondary training or education.

The U.S. Department of Labor is working with our Commonwealth to ensure Kentuckians have the opportunity to continually upgrade their education. One such program is the High Growth Job Training Initiative, which identifies fast-growing sectors of the economy and trains workers for emerging opportunities.

Under this program, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded the Kentucky Community and Technical College System $2,480,852 to help train 3,600 workers over three years at the KCTCS Advanced Manufacturing Learning Center. This state-of-the-art facility will provide training in advanced manufacturing techniques. Another $3 million was provided for manufacturing training for Henderson, Union, and Webster counties.

The Pennyrile Area Development District was awarded $3 million to provide advanced training for workers in our state’s mining sector.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor is helping Kentuckians prepare for one of the fastest-growing categories of jobs—health care. More than $3 million was awarded to help train workers in Lexington and Louisville. The Department also awarded $1.2 million to Madisonville Community College to train health care workers.

These investments not only help individuals—a recent study found that employers add jobs in areas that have invested in high-quality work forces.

Kentuckians can learn about training opportunities through the 30 One Stop Career or Job Centers throughout the state, or on the Web site www.doleta.gov under Advancing Your Career tips. The U.S. Department of Labor provides Kentucky more than $225 million annually in employment, training, and unemployment services.

Kentucky’s workers are helping our mining, agriculture, automotive, transportation, manufacturing, and construction sectors compete in the world economy. The U.S. Department of Labor is right there with you—working with the Commonwealth to ensure that all Kentucky workers get the training to stay in that winner’s circle.

Elaine L. Chao is U.S. Secretary of Labor.

Educated adults
A record number of 124,801 Kentuckians enrolled in adult education programs in fiscal year 2005. Adult education programs in 88 counties met or exceeded their enrollment and performance goals in fiscal 2005. These counties will share nearly $1 million in incentive funds.

“Kentucky’s significant investment in adult education continues to pay off,” says Cheryl King, vice president for Kentucky Adult Education, Council on Postsecondary Education. “We must continue to make opportunities available to all Kentuckians to improve their quality of life through continuing their education.”

The enrollments represent Kentuckians who enroll in adult education to learn to read, write, and compute; earn a GED; prepare for employment; and improve their English or learn as a family.

The number of Kentuckians completing their GED increased from 9,740 to 9,757.

Council President Tom Layzell recognized this achievement as a significant step toward Kentucky’s goal of raising levels of educational attainment to the national average by 2020.

“We will continue to work with our partners in adult education to ensure that adult learners can smoothly transition to postsecondary education,” he said.

Mobile Home Tips
Inspecting your Crawlspace

by Chris Dorsey

The crawlspace under your mobile or manufactured home offers access to some of its most important energy details. It’s worth taking the time to inspect this often-neglected area.

If your mobile home has skirting installed around the edges, find an access point where you can either open a hinged door or remove a piece of skirting. The best place to enter is usually near the center of the home, where you will have good access to the plumbing and to the area under your furnace. Wear sturdy clothes for this inspection and bring a bright light.

Ductwork
Your mobile home’s ductwork is probably installed beneath the floor. Check to see if any of this ductwork is exposed and/or if any joints are loose or disconnected. Check carefully at the area immediately under your furnace. If you live in a doublewide, inspect the cross-over duct that connects the heating system in each half of the home. If you find disconnected ducts or loose joints, seal them up with metal duct tape or with duct mastic. Avoid common gray fabric duct tape since it tends to come loose.

Insulation
Your mobile home was designed and built with insulation in the floor, and a layer of fiberboard or “belly paper” to protect this insulation and the plumbing lines above it. This protective layer often gets damaged by animals or wind. This leaves the home exposed to outdoor air that robs energy in both winter and summer, and allows the floor insulation to get damaged. Replace any missing insulation with fiberglass batts, bulky material made from fabric or other fibers, used for padding and stuffing, then repair any damage you find in the belly. Use plywood and screws to repair any damaged fiberboard. Use belly paper (purchased at a mobile home supply shop) and construction adhesive to repair any torn paper.

Chris Dorsey is a nationally recognized author of numerous energy-efficiency books, including Surviving the Seasons and Residential Energy: Cost Savings and Comfort for Existing Buildings. For more info, visit his Web site www.srmi.biz.

Civil War monument completed at Pound Gap
Last year, work was completed on the Pound Gap Civil War historical marker in Letcher County along the Virginia border in southeast Kentucky. Conceived by the Colonel Benjamin Caudill Camp No. 1629 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the project is the result of several area groups and agencies working together. Titled Brothers Once More, the monument overlooks U.S. Highway 23 and Pound Gap two miles south of Jenkins. The monument is located near the apex of the mountain on the north side of the highway and is accessible by a blacktop street. The monument includes the statement, “Dedicated to all Letcher Countians that suffered on the battlefield and homefront during the War Between the States.” The monument also includes a synopsis of four battles fought in Letcher County. Plans for informative stones and a small walking trail are ongoing.

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