Kentucky Forward’s stats on apprenticeships. | WLKY

By Caray Grace | WLKY

There are more than 100,000 trade jobs available in the state of Kentucky, and according to state leaders, that number is expected to grow exponentially. That’s why state leaders are pushing for more apprenticeships and for people to take advantage of those opportunities.

A job fair kicks off Tuesday at the Kentucky Expo Center. High school students are welcome from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Veterans can come between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The summit wraps up Wednesday with a session for people who have been incarcerated or have disabilities.

Derrick Ramsey | WLKY

“So often, people think they have to go to college or university. Well, I beg to differ,” said Derrick Ramsey, secretary of education and workforce development.

Apprenticeships offer an opportunity to learn and make a living without accruing college debt.

“This isn’t to say that we don’t need any kind of postsecondary training, but what does it look like? Does it look like sitting in a classroom and studying from a book, or does it look like an apprenticeship program?” said Gov. Matt Bevin.

According to Kentucky Forward, there are more than 3,000 apprentices in Kentucky in nearly 240 programs representing 109 different occupations.

“We expose not only young people, (but) all people that are interested in this work, and second, (we are) making businesses aware because this is the easiest way to grow your business, when you grow your own,” said Ramsey.

Bevin says he wants to see Kentucky lead the way in registered apprenticeship programs. The U.S. Labor Cabinet recently gave the state $1.1 million to promote apprenticeships.

“So, if no state owns it, what does that tell all of us? It’s available for ownership. Kentucky’s going to own it simple as that. That is my vision for this state,” said Bevin.