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Among the state's other initiatives, Kentucky is investing $100 million in a workforce development program. The state will also pay for an individual's associate's degree (if they haven't earned one in the past), regardless of age, for jobs that need to be filled, as long as that person commits to at least two years of work after earning their diploma.
In addition to Kentucky, Colorado has also been a pioneer in addressing the middle-skills gap through its partnership with the Markle Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to advance technology to broaden employment opportunities. The Centennial State works with one of the foundation's initiatives, called Skillful, to connect American workers with middle-skills jobs.
Because many employers don't often consider applicants without college degrees, Skillful leaders argue that companies are missing out on some employees who could be a perfect fit for vacant positions.
To bridge this divide, Skillful provides resources for employers to hire based on the skill sets they need. Additionally, Skillful helps job seekers find positions they are qualified for, and for those who don't have advanced training, it lists what skills they need to get certain jobs.
A handful of businesses have collaborated with Skillful, including Aqua-Hot Heating Systems, a manufacturing company just north of Denver that creates hydronic heating systems for RVs, commercial fleets and other industries.