Tapping into local talent

‘Covington Works’ to provide services for under/unemployed residents

 to succeed in the workforce

Photo by Sam Greenhill

COVINGTON, Ky. – A new workforce development project will invest in one of the city’s best resources: the talent in its own backyard, so to speak.

Pointing out that the city has been successful in attracting outside talent to move here, Covington Economic Development Director Tom West said it’s time to focus on developing workers who already live here.

“The purpose of economic development is to build wealth in the community,” said West. “There are several ways to do that, and The Cov has been very successful with attracting outside investment and talent, but this year we are really focusing on developing the talent of our residents who may be unemployed or underemployed.”

“Covington Works” is the result of an agreement between the City and the Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD), which operates the Kentucky Career Center on Madison Avenue. The project will focus on helping Covington residents who are unemployed or under-employed to develop or enhance their skills. The Covington Board of Commissioners voted in December to approve the $150,000 grant request from NKADD to create the project.

“The local workforce board provided us with a multi-pronged approach to lifting up our residents who need a boost, and we are delighted to partner with them,” West said.

Over an 18-month period – from Jan. 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024 – Covington Works will provide services that include help with transportation, scholarships, and on-the-job training:


  • Transportation. Some Covington residents are unable to accept jobs because they lack personal transportation and/or public transportation doesn’t adequately serve that employer. The project will partner with three to five regional employers to ensure that Covington residents have reliable transportation for their daily work commute. The initiative will include partnering with Commute with Enterprise, the largest vanpool provider in North America.


  • BuildED Scholarships. This builds off a unique approach in developing soft workplace skills based on the principles of entrepreneurship that produces very positive results in areas of the country where it has been applied. BuildEd is an EdTech company out of Pennsylvania that delivers 21st century entrepreneurship and career training for individuals seeking employment.  Training is conducted through virtual skill-building workshops and one-on-one mentoring. The plan is for 60 individuals to receive scholarships in the amount of $780 per person.


  • On the Job Training Supplement. A stipend will encourage businesses to take a chance on someone with little or no experience so as to allow them to gain that valued asset while working. The project will offer Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt training to roughly 20 Covington residents. The Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board is partnering with St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Journey Recovery Center, and Life Learning Center to offer training and job opportunities to individuals who are in recovery. A portion of the Covington Works grant will be used to incentivize hiring individuals in recovery by providing a wage subsidy to offset employer’s costs and any financial risk.

The need for services was well-vetted. During 2022, NKADD staff worked with the Kentucky Career Center and state officials to identify the needs of unemployed and underemployed Covingtonians. The Career Center leadership was asked to develop a proposal to address some of the top needs that would fit within NKADD’s budget for delivery over a period of time that would allow results to be measured.

“We’re excited to partner with the City by introducing an array of innovative strategies that we believe will bolster workforce participation among city residents, improve outcomes (talent attraction and retention) for local employers, and ultimately advance our region’s economy,” said Correy Eimer, Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board Director.

West said the shortage of qualified workers has touched every sector in today’s economy, prompting the City to get involved in two other initiatives geared toward the building and renovation industries.

“Our approach has been to address training and skills development where there is a fit for our residents and businesses,” he said. “That is why we partnered with the Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky on the construction and heritage trades schools, and that is why we are partnering with the workforce system on these initiatives.”


For more information about Covington Works, contact Correy Eimer at


The new Covington campus of the Enzweiler Building Institute’s construction trades school is located in the Latonia Commerce Center. An enrollment and info session will be held this Saturday for classes that begin Jan. 31.

The related  Covington Academy of Heritage Trades will teach the increasingly rare skills required to restore historic buildings to their former glory. Introductory workshops could begin as early as February, with singularly focused workshops beginning in late spring.


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