Economy Politics

A new bill making its way through the Kentucky General Assembly would require schools to teach students so-called “essential skills,” like dressing appropriately, avoiding drugs and being punctual. It’s training that some Louisville business leaders say is much-needed.

House Bill 3 says these skills are critical to success in the workplace, and if it becomes law, it will require K-12 schools to work them into curriculums for the 2019-2020 school year.

Louisville Small Business Development Center director Dave Oetken said having a strong workforce depends on workers knowing these basic life skills. His center helps small businesses grow.

“It would help businesses immensely. It would help individuals as well, too. People are more employable if they have those kind of skills,” Oetken said. “While everything else is important as well, I think this is a piece of a well-rounded education that’s kind of missing.”

Greater Louisville Inc., the city’s chamber of commerce, is on board, too. GLI Chief Operating Officer Sarah Davasher-Wisdom said local businesses are finding some workers lack these skills.

GLI has partnered with other schools to start similar programs before, but Davasher-Wisdom said many students still aren’t taught such skills.

“The average person doesn’t understand that essential skills are a major pain point with employers,” Davasher-Wisdom said. “The truth is, there are skills that are very basic, fundamental skills that one must have in order to thrive in the workforce.”

She supported teaching the skills to K-12 students, and said the Jefferson County Public School system is a great place to start implementing the program. JCPS spokesperson Jennifer Brislin said the school system supports the bill, calling it a “great partnership” between businesses and JCPS.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.