Kentucky schools benefiting from program with support of business community

As Kentucky continues to seek to find ways to improve education in the state, the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Leadership Institute for School Principals has proudly graduated another group of educators who will take their new skills home to their districts.

principals 2Since the start of the program in 2011, the Kentucky Chamber Foundation has raised and spent more than $2 million to help principals in the state receive CEO-level leadership training at no cost to the educator.

The Leadership Institute for School Principals uses the generous donations of individuals and businesses across the state to allow principals to attend for free a three-day session in Greensboro, North Carolina and another four day training at the Kentucky Chamber headquarters where they are trained by a nationally acclaimed provider of executive education.

The program, which hosts two classes of an average of 25 principals in each group, saw another group complete the training in January 2015 and will congratulate them with a ceremony at the governor’s mansion in March.

Many of the educators in the most recent class say that the knowledge they have gained from the Leadership Institute for School Principals is already allowing for progress within their schools.

“The practical takeaways have directly impacted student achievement in our building. The work surrounding culture has enabled me to facilitate moving our school from toxic to a high performing culture focused on student success,” Farnsley Middle School Principal Linda Hudson said of the program.

One of the main aspects of the training mentioned by most of the participants is the one-on-one coaching provided through the institute. Principals in the program receive year-round coaching from a professional, which many say helps them to get a better understanding of themselves as a leader and in turn be able to successfully lead.

“Although there have been many aspects of the program’s components that I’ve been able to use in my role as school principals 1principal, the life coach piece has made a great impact on my self-confidence and being able to acknowledge what I have to offer my teachers and district,” Uniontown Elementary School Principal Tamala D. Howard said.

Overall, the program seeks to help education leaders develop behaviors and learn activities that will lead to positive results for their school and for the district. The experience also helps top educators build a network among other principals to share ideas and assist each other to help move the state’s education system forward.

With a focus on reaching education professionals early in their careers, the benefits of the training will have a long lasting effect on the educator and the district.

“This year, my school has experienced major transitions with 15 new staff members including a new principal, me. My experiences with CCL have been key in leading my staff through the wilderness,” Crestwood Elementary School Principal Candace McDaniel explained.

To date, principals from 67 of Kentucky’s 120 counties have received training from the Leadership Institute for School Principals.principals 3

Because of the positive response received from the principals training, the program is now being extended to involve Kentucky superintendents beginning in summer 2015.

Similar to the curriculum for principals in the program, Kentucky superintendents will learn more about themselves as leader and program leaders from the Center for Creative Leadership will assist in creating an action plan for achieving leadership success.

The superintendent program will focus specifically on issues facing Kentucky superintendents during a three-day program at CCL headquarter followed by two sessions with a personal career coach.  The first session is set for June 23-25, 2015 in Greensboro, N.C. The fee for superintendents to attend the Leadership Institute is $5,000.

If you are interested in making a contribution to help train more educators in the state or want to nominate a school leader for the program, call Kelly Wolf at 859-221-8813 or email her at to pledge your community’s support for a better education system in Kentucky. If you would like more information on registration, visit

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In the News: Edelen considering audit, local right-to-work movement grows and more

CenteredCMYK_NoTaglineState Auditor Adam Edelen is considering undertaking a comprehensive performance audit of the Kentucky Retirement System called for by the Kentucky Chamber.

The Louisville Courier-Journal was first to report that Edelen estimates an audit at the scale proposed by the Chamber would cost around $150,000 to complete, according to a letter Edelen sent to Senate President Robert Stivers who inquired about what such an investigation would cost the state.

As the Chamber noted when calling for the audit last month, Edelen stated in the letter he knows other audits of the system have been done but said any new review would have to dig deeper into the system with outside council.

“It is glaringly obvious to me that a serious and thorough examination into investment strategies is what is needed at this time,” Edelen wrote. “What’s more, as taxpayer watchdog, I’m deeply concerned about issues related to transparency over fees being paid to outside investment advisors.”

Kentucky Chamber senior vice president of public affairs Bryan Sunderland told the paper the estimated cost of the audit is worth the added expertise needed to look into the system and make sure the system is operating up to standards.

“You want to make sure that you’ve got good experts looking at it, and with billions of dollars at stake, that’s a very small investment to make sure the system is running as efficiently as possible,” Sunderland said.

More counties passing right to work ordinances

As right-to-work legislation continues to be a big debate at the state level, many Kentucky counties are passing their own ordinances to make their regions more competitive.

In the last month, Warren, Simpson, Hardin, Fulton and Todd counties have passed right-to-work ordinances while Cumberland and Pulaski counties have given first readings to similar proposals, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Read what Kentucky Chamber President Dave Adkisson told the paper about the issue:

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President David Adkisson said he anticipates that 20 counties “in pretty short order” will adopt right-to-work ordinances in the coming weeks.

“The people who are promoting this are people on the front line who are recruiting new jobs to their communities,” Adkisson said.

Adkisson, a former Owensboro mayor and former chamber of commerce executive there, said he is convinced that Kentucky loses thousands of jobs each year to right-to-work states.

“In my Owensboro days, I worked with prospects who went to other states and … who were telling me that right to work was a significant factor,” Adkisson said.

At the state level, the state Senate passed right-to-work legislation Senate Bill 1 during the first week of the 2015 session and has sent the bill to the House.

Public-private partnership bill to be filed when session convenes in February

Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, will be filing a bill dealing with Chamber supported public-private partnerships (P3) when lawmakers return to Frankfort Feb. 3, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

After P3 legislation was vetoed by the governor last year when a last minute amendment was added to the bill before its passage, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has made it clear in 2015 the state needs to pass the bill and has placed a large focus of transportation projects.

The Louisville paper noted the support of the Kentucky Chamber and other supporters who believe public-private partnerships will help to encourage both state and local governments to accelerate construction and save money on public construction projects.

Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus writes:

A 2013 report by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce defines a P3 as any “contractual agreement between a public agency and a private-sector entity to deliver a service or provide a facility for use by the general public.”

The report says P3s usually involve “a private entity working with a government agency to provide financing, construction and operation of an infrastructure project, such as a highway, bridge or building.”

Dave Adkisson, president and chief executive officer of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said, “There are a lot of dollars that can be saved by employing the resources of the private sector…And in a time when we’re struggling to buy new textbooks for our students, we need to find every possible efficiency.”

State expanding program to create highly-skilled workforce

ky fameKentucky Chamber Board Chair Wil James joined Gov. Steve Beshear Wednesday to announce the expansion of the Kentucky Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) to additional areas of the state.

The program, which offers students an apprentice-style education and training to help create a more highly-skilled workforce, is adding three new chapters in Louisville, northern Kentucky and Elizabethtown in addition to its central Kentucky chapter.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. President and current Kentucky Chamber Board Chair Wil James said Wednesday the KY FAME program is the pipeline of skilled workers that the manufacturing industry needs.

“With the Kentucky FAME’s guiding hand, I advanced manufacturing in our state can and I believe will reach its full potential,” James said. “At Toyota, this is the type of innovative collaboration that we are proud to be a part of. But like the dozens of companies that have joined KY FAME, we also realize that this is an initiative that we simply must get behind and support because our future truly does depend on it.”

See more of the remarks from Wil James in video below:

Program participants attend classes at their local community college two days out of the week while also working 24 hours per week with a sponsoring employer to get hands on experience in the field.

Beshear said Wednesday the expansion of the program is important to the state’s future as it serves as a way to address the shortage of technically skilled workers in needed for jobs in manufacturing and other fields.

“I also want to stress the importance of these jobs for potential students. They are not, and let’s make this clear and say it all across the commonwealth, these are not the only factory jobs of the past. These jobs are for those students who enjoy technology, who want to be on the cutting edge, who have the discipline and intelligence to succeed in both the classroom and on the job site,” Beshear said.

Ky. Chamber urges Congress to pass Regulatory Accountability Act

UPDATE: The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 185, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015, by a vote of 250-175 with bi-partisan support Tuesday night.  This measure seeks to modernize the 69-year old Administrative Procedure Act and improve how federal agencies write the regulations that most significantly affect the U.S. economy.  Following the vote Dave Adkisson, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO, expressed his gratitude to those in the Kentucky Delegation who voted in favor of the bill and helped to pass this important measure.

“I would like to thank the Kentucky US House members that supported HR 185.  This bill would significantly benefit Kentucky’s business community and our members by making much needed reforms to the federal regulatory process.  The Kentucky Chamber will be following the measure closely as it hopefully makes it way to the US Senate and to the President’s desk,” Adkisson said in a statement about the passage.

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other pro-business organizations in urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support H.R. 185, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015.

The measure seeks to modernize the 69-year old Administrative Procedure Act and improve how federal agencies write the regulations that most significantly affect the U.S. economy.

Specifically, the bill would:

  • Increase public participation in shaping the most costly regulations before they are proposed
  • Require that agencies must choose the least costly option, unless they can demonstrate that public health, safety, or welfare requires a more costly requirement
  • Give interested parties the opportunity to hold agencies accountable for their compliance with the Information Quality Act
  • Establish a requirement of on-the-record administrative hearings for the most costly regulations to insure that agency data is well tested and reviewed
  • Restrict agencies’ use of interim final regulations where no comments are taken before a regulation takes effect and providing for expedited judicial review of whether that approach is justified
  • Provide for a more rigorous test in legal challenges for those regulations that would have the most impaUS Capitolct.

“With an unprecedented number of federal mandates being issued from Washington, D.C. that are impacting the Commonwealth, it is imperative that the regulatory process be fair and federal agencies are held accountable,” said Bryan Sunderland, senior vice president for public affairs. “Furthermore, any new regulations being imposed on industry should be sensible and attainable. The Regulatory Accountability Act will help ensure that those standards are met.”

See a copy of the letter here.

20th Annual Chamber Day brings tone of bipartisanship and shared legislative priorities

photoLawmakers and business leaders expressed a desire to work together to move Kentucky forward during the 20th annual Kentucky Chamber Day dinner.

A crowd of more than 1,300 business leaders, legislators and advocates came together in Lexington Thursday night to talk about where Kentucky stands and how the state can improve.

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO David Adkisson spoke of the positive growth in the economy and the encouraging bipartisan tone among legislators to accomplish important tasks. Adkisson said during the 2015 session, the Kentucky Chamber wants to see more policies that will make the state more competitive.

“Not surprisingly, the business community wants to see more growth, more jobs created, more commerce.  On behalf of tens of thousands of employers across the state, the Kentucky Chamber advocates policies that will make the economic climate of Kentucky more competitive … not just with surrounding states, but with the world,” Adkisson told the crowd.

Among the issues the Chamber is advocating for during the new session: public-private partnerships (P3) is a policy the state needs for transportation projects; local option sales taxes to allow local communities to complete projects they need; right to work legislation to attract businesses to the state; education and workforce improvements; legislation to address the state’s heroin issue; and many others.

Many of the legislative leaders speaking at the event also shared some of the same priorities as House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Senate President Robert Stivers, Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones and House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover all spoke of the need for legislation to deal with the heroin issue and a P3 bill.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear spoke of the positive advancements the state has made in recent years as he approaches the end of his final year in office. However, similar to his State of the Commonwealth Address, Beshear also laid out many of the same 2015 priorities shared by the Kentucky Chamber.

If you missed the event Thursday night, KET coverage of the event will be broadcast 8 pm ET at on Monday, Jan. 12.

See video and more coverage of the event by cn|2 Pure Politics here.

Senate passes first two bills out of chamber

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The Kentucky state Senate passed two pieces of legislation Thursday, moving them to the House for a vote in committee.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 1, a bill sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, designed to make Kentucky a right to work state. Legislators voted 24-12 on the bill which will now be sent to the House.

On Wednesday, Kentucky Chamber President David Adkisson testified on the legislation in Senate committee where the bill passed with only three dissenting votes. Adkisson told legislators that right to work legislation will make the state more competitive by letting perspective companies know Kentucky is open for business.

Also passing Thursday was Senate Bill 5, legislation seeking to address the growing scourge of heroin in the state. Senators voted unanimously Thursday in support of the bill sponsored by state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill.

As these pieces of legislation head to the state House for consideration, please voice your support on this important issue to your legislator by calling 1-800-372-7181.

Beshear describes legislative priorities shared by Chamber in final State of the Commonwealth address


Photo Courtesy: Associated Press

In his final State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night, Gov. Steve Beshear discussed the success he sees in the state and laid out his top legislation priorities—many of which are shared by the Kentucky Chamber.

An issue strongly supported by the Kentucky Chamber is the need for legislation allowing the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) for transportation and other projects in order to make the state more competitive because of the cost-saving nature of the policy.

In his speech, Beshear noted the need for P3 legislation to pass during the 2015 session. The governor did mention his veto of the legislation during the 2014 session because of a last minute amendment added onto the bill and said the General Assembly needs to pass the legislation this year to help fund transportation projects in the state.

“Kentucky has large gaps in our road and bridge system, and federal resources aren’t enough to fill those gaps,” Beshear said. “Using current procurement and financing mechanisms, we are simply not equipped to tackle these ‘super-projects’ in a timely manner without squeezing out local projects.”

The governor also voiced his strong support for smoke-free legislation, citing the support of the business community as 92 percent of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce membership supports a statewide smoking ban.

“Kentucky has the highest smoking rate in the nation,” Gov. Beshear said. “And when it comes to preventable illnesses and deaths, every single study concludes that nothing is as devastating to Kentucky as smoking and tobacco use.”

Beshear spent much of his speech discussing the dire need for a legislative solution to the state’s growing heroin scourge. Many bills have been filed to address the issue, but Beshear said lawmakers need to come to an agreement and pass a bill to begin to save lives in the state.

“No single change in the law is enough. Like we did with prescription drugs, we have to attack this problem from all angles,” Gov. Beshear said. “Our families are looking for solutions – not political rhetoric and posturing.”

Other legislative priorities mentioned by Beshear include domestic violence protections being provided to dating partners and legislation to require booster seats children under seven years old who meet certain criteria.

Much of the rest of the governor’s 50 minute speech was spent focusing on how far he feels Kentucky has come in recent years and how he would like to see the state continue to move forward.

To read the governor’s full address, click here.


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