Wage & Skill Survey, Working From Home Data Key For SWK EDC


The Third Annual South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council’s “Wage & Skill Survey” results have already been disseminated to the public, showcasing growth and development in Trigg, Christian and Todd counties.

During Monday’s SWK EDC Board Meeting in Hopkinsville, however, Executive Director Carter Hendricks noted new observations and review will run through the fiscal year — and contacted industries can still turn in results if they haven’t done so.

— For a third-straight year, more than 20 industries responded to the survey, more than a third of the region’s employees, and Hendricks said this only improves the consistency and validity of the trend data being collected.

— Industry salaries increased an average 3-to-5%.

— Entry-level positions rose to nearly $18/hour. Hendricks pointed out those same wages were in the “$15-ish” range pre-pandemic.

— And entry-level maintenance positions, specifically, are nearing $27/hour.

Hendricks said “soft skills” in demand at this time include timeliness, teamwork and loyalty, but the “hard skills” list is much longer.

Hendricks and Tony Prim, associate director of business, retention and expansion, also said more than 800 industrial jobs are on the horizon in Trigg, Christian and Todd — ranging from mechatronics, maintenance, engineering, operations and logistics. This greatly syncs with Hopkinsville Community College and its associates, who have experienced record enrollment with this year’s HOPFAME skills-to-bills program.

Furthermore, in a tour last Friday at the Commerce Park II Ascend Elements property, Hendricks said nearly 400 workers are on site now, with the potential of reaching 700 before its completion.

Above all, Hendricks said the survey confirmed the regional job market “remains strong,” regional wages continue to rise but “appear to be stabilizing,” more opportunities are expected in “the near term,” there’s “lots of activity” for mid-to-long term jobs, and that workforce/education partnerships continue to be vital in this transition.

In other SWK EDC news:

— South western Kentucky’s “work from home” numbers, Hendricks said, might surprise some.

According to the 2022 U.S. Census, more than 1,100 Christian Coutians, 460 Todd Countians and 450 Trigg Countians have some form of employment opportunity, part-or-full time, within their domicile.

In terms of population, that’s almost 4% of Christian County, almost 9.5% of Todd County and almost 8% of Trigg County.

Hendricks urged that it’s becoming more common for citizens to either move to this region, or for natives to take on these types of career options.

— Hendricks also noted unemployment numbers have seen a slight uptick in Trigg, Christian and Todd counties, respectively: 5.7%, 5.5% and 4.2%. Kentucky’s unemployment in January was 4.3%, the region’s at 5.1% and the nation’s at 3.7%.

— And as one of 10 communities selected, the SWK EDC is currently involved with TVA’s Equitable Connected Community Initiative program. Similar to sustainability and livability studies, Hendricks said it will look at an inventory process, looking at how “attractive” or “unattractive” Trigg, Christian and Todd appears as an industry investment.

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