KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear held his weekly Team Kentucky update on February 9. The governor discussed many topics during the press conference, including the following:

Here’s what was discussed during this week’s Team Kentucky update.

Economic development

Last Friday, Governor Beshear joined leaders from Bluegrass Distillers LLC to break ground on the craft distiller’s new $8 million operation on the historic Elkwood Farm property in Midway. The new operation is expected to create 22 full time jobs for local residents.

During Governor Beshear’s Team Kentucky update, he highlighted Kentucky’s investment in workforce training initiatives as he announced nearly $830,000 in funding and credits to assist with the training of over 2,100 Kentucky workers.

Apprenticeship opportunities

Governor Beshear said that in 2022, there were 4,800 active apprentices earning a paycheck while getting hands-on learning and direct work experience throughout Kentucky. That number increased from 4,400 in 2021.

“World-class companies are betting their futures on Kentucky because of our world-class workforce,” Gov. Beshear said. “To keep that momentum going, we have to keep investing in apprenticeships and on-the-job training. Congratulations to all the folks working in these critical areas and supporting our job growth as well as our communities.”

To further support Kentucky’s workforce, the governor also expanded Medicaid to include vision, hearing and dental care; launched a program to help employers guide their workers to addiction services when in need; established Recovery Ready Communities; announced new programs aimed at transitioning people from incarceration to employment; launched a statewide project that provides transportation to former inmates so they have access to addiction treatment, job interviews, education and employment; invested $245 million in Kentucky’s career and technical centers; and pushed for universal pre-K through his Education First Plan so parents have the opportunity to rejoin the workforce sooner.

Advocacy week

Governor Beshear took part in advocacy events at the Capitol this week. On Tuesday, the governor joined the Legislative Black History Celebration to honor African-American leaders of the past, present and future. He also met with families and children affected by congenital heart defects and proclaimed this week Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week in Kentucky.

On Wednesday, Beshear joined the Kentucky Youth Advocates for their Rally for Kentucky’s Kids event to promote investment in the children of the commonwealth. The governor also emceed a Recovery Advocacy Day event at the Capitol to raise awareness around addiction and to push for more recovery resources.

On Thursday, Governor Beshear met with Kentucky union members and proclaimed February 6 as United Steelworkers Lobby Day to promote unions.

“This was a busy and exciting week here in our Capitol,” said Gov. Beshear. “I got to meet so many amazing Kentuckians and discuss the issues that matter to our families. Together, we are moving our commonwealth not left, not right, but forward, with faith in our future and faith in our people.”

Eastern Kentucky flood update

Governor Beshear said 218 families impacted by the historic floods in eastern Kentucky are now housed in travel trailers. Beshear also said the state no longer has families waiting on a travel trailer. Kentucky State Parks are now housing 24 people, down from the 360 people sheltered on September 1, 2022.

As of this week, there is almost $9 million in awards approved for the buy-out program accounting for 51 properties from Perry County, the city of Jackson and Breathitt County. The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $13.1 million from more than 41,500 donors.

Western Kentucky tornado relief fund

Beshear also provided an update on the western Kentucky tornado relief fund during his press conference. According to the governor’s office, the fund has received over $52.3 million from more than 150,000 individuals and organizations.

The governor provided the following list of distributions and pledges:

  • $810,000 in funeral expenses to families of the deceased.
  • Over $9.6 million in assistance to insured and uninsured homeowners and renters
  • Over $3.9 million in assistance to local farmers
  • $16 million pledged to build 300 homes through the help of Homes and Hope for Kentucky, Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center on Housing
  • $12 million pledged for individuals for unmet needs and life essentials in cooperation with local long-term recovery groups
  • Over $10 million in $1,000 checks to survivors approved for any amount of FEMA assistance and insured homeowners.

Governor Beshear also provided a full breakdown of the $1,000 checks that were issued, saying all recipients were identified as tornado victims who made claims by private insurance companies or FEMA. The recipients were identified by FEMA and insurance companies as having been verified through their systems and having received payments through those entities. No checks were sent out to anyone who was not on a FEMA or private insurance list.

Department of Juvenile Justice update

Governor Beshear provided an update on more efforts to support critical staffing needs at Department of Juvenile Justice facilities.

As of Monday, KSP have assigned two uniformed troopers to high-security male facilities in Adair, Fayette and Warren counties 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The governor says they are there to intervene in the event of a serious emergency.

More than 30 correctional officers and probation and parole officers from the Department of Corrections have volunteered to assist the Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center until they are fully staffed. In addition, a few detention center staff members from the Boyd Juvenile Detention Center will also be assisting in Campbell County as needed.

“Thank you to our Kentucky State Police and corrections officers for answering the call and stepping in to protect our youth, and also our juvenile justice staff members,” Gov. Beshear said. “We’re committed to making progress for these youth and our employees.”

Team Kentucky All-Stars

First Lady Britainy Beshear named the volunteers, grocery staff and shoppers who work to make the Shop & Share event possible as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. Shop & Share is a one-day, statewide donation drive benefiting the 15 member programs of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

During the event, Kentuckians are asked to shop for what they need and also to purchase items to share with local domestic violence survivors. Locations include Kroger, Food City, IGA, Save-A-Lot and Super Dollar stores across Kentucky. The governor and first lady encourage Kentuckians to shop on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the event.

“Kentucky, this is an easy and fantastic way to support survivors of domestic violence in our communities. We’ve seen your kindness through the pandemic. We’ve seen the outpouring of support you’ve shown through two Christmas Toy Drives after devastating natural disasters in our state,” said Mrs. Beshear. “I ask you to join me once again in sharing that generosity with your neighbors through Shop & Share.”

For more information about the event, click here.