Kentucky Takes Leading Role in Civil Service Apprenticeships

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 8, 2019) – Kentucky launched an initiative to include public service apprenticeships as part of the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet job classification system last year, becoming one of the first states in the nation to implement such an program. Today, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) Secretary Derrick Ramsey hosted a roundtable discussion to highlight civil service apprenticeships and share findings from the Urban Institute report entitled “Leading by Example: Public Sector Apprenticeships in Kentucky.”

Modern apprenticeships are an employee training program that combines on-the-job training and classroom instruction under the supervision of an experienced business professional. As a proven strategy for recruiting, training and retaining employees, Kentucky has utilized the apprenticeship model to fill workforce pipelines with highly skilled, diverse, productive workers. Each modern apprenticeship program is customized to meet the particular needs of a business.

“The dynamics of state government have changed dramatically in the past decade, and we must keep interest in employment within public service dynamic, fresh and contemporary,” said EWDC Secretary Derrick Ramsey. “This unique collaboration is helping to bring the power of apprenticeships to innovative careers within state government, and I applaud my colleagues for wanting to cultivate a new wave of committed and engaged public servants. This program is one of the first of its kind in the nation, and truly showcases how Kentucky is pioneering solutions in workforce development through problem solving, innovation, and excellence.”

In May 2018, Governor Bevin and Secretary Ramsey announced an initiative with the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet to incorporate civil service apprenticeships into the Commonwealth’s job classification system. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Commonwealth Office of Technology, and Transportation Cabinet are now offering apprenticeship opportunities for job classification relating to direct support specialist, help desk technician, and automotive tech specialist.

The Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA), Governor’s Office for Early Childhood and the Department for Veteran Affairs are currently exploring the development of apprenticeship opportunities for various positions within their respective agencies. KDLA’s library technician apprenticeship is tentatively scheduled to launch in the coming months following approval by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“In late 2016 four Kentucky apprenticeship program coordinators and their leadership set about to reinvigorate Registered Apprenticeships throughout the Commonwealth,’ said Deborah Williamson, director of the Office of Employer and Apprenticeship Services. “In the 12-month timeframe that followed, Registered Apprenticeship occupations were operationalized in three Cabinets and in one local government agency. If properly nurtured over the course of the next few years, this program will ameliorate gaps created by the exodus of the baby-boomers, and keep careers in government fresh, inspired and energized.”

The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet acts as the governing body for Registered Apprenticeships in Kentucky and provides technical and consultative services to employers. The “Kentucky Trained. Kentucky Built.” campaign was launched in 2016 to signal the cabinet’s commitment to strengthening and growing Registered Apprenticeships across the Commonwealth. For more information, visit

To view the full report, click here.

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