By Ronnie Ellis / CNHI News Service
Gov. Steve Beshear has picked a former automobile executive and Transportation Cabinet official to head up the Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development.
Beshear announced on Friday that Thomas Zawacki, the current Commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation, will succeed Joe Meyer who earlier this week announced his retirement.
Zawacki worked for more than 30 years in the automobile industry, including stints at Nissan and Ford before joining Toyota where he helped start the Japanese company’s largest plant outside Japan, located in Georgetown.
He was General Manager of General Affairs for Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing American before he retired from the company in 2009 and took the position with the Transportation Cabinet.
“Tom has a deep understanding of the skills employers need to build successful businesses, and he brings both public and private sector experience to the table to help us meet those needs,” Beshear said in his announcement.
Zawacki said training and education are critical if Kentucky is to enjoy a strong and flexible workforce.
“I’ve devoted much of my career to building strong partnerships among employers, workers, educators and communities,” Zawacki said. “I appreciate the governor’s confidence in my work, and we will continue the good work of his administration.”
The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet coordinates learning programs from pre-school through college and manages workforce development programs in the Department of Workforce Development. The cabinet employs close to 3,000 people and has an annual budget of $2.5 billion.
It is separate from the Kentucky Department of Education which is managed by Commissioner of Education Dr. Terry Holliday and is responsible for the state’s public school system and the Council on Postsecondary Education managed by CPE President Dr. Robert King which coordinates policy for the state’s public university and community college system.
The cabinet, however, works with both agencies to support education programs for all ages. Since 2012 the cabinet also licenses and regulates proprietary or for-profit schools that offer bachelor degrees in Kentucky and oversees Kentucky Education Television and the Department of Libraries and Archives.
Zawacki is a past chairman of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System – KCTCS – Foundation; KCTCS Board of Regents; Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; and served on the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board from 2009 to 2013.
RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at email@example.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.
By Ronnie Ellis / CNHI News Service
- State News
A few glimpses into House budget plan
Monday is typically a light day in the General Assembly – few committee meetings and a late starting time to allow lawmakers to travel back to Frankfort.
Prevailing wage bill dies in committee
The state House of Representatives will apparently not vote on a bill to remove the requirement that public school construction projects pay the area’s prevailing wage.
Bill would allow Paul to run for two offices
Most people know Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is considering running for president in 2016. But, if he does, he wants to be able to hedge his bets by running for re-election to his Senate seat at the same time.
4,000 march, remember in Frankfort
This time the welcome was warmer; still cold, but the sun shone; and 50 years of progress was marked.
Same-sex marriage decisions
Kentucky’s Democratic Attorney General won’t appeal a federal judge’s decision that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states — but Kentucky’s Democratic governor will.
Almost time for budget talk at session
More than halfway through the 2014 General Assembly, little has been seen of lawmakers’ plans for a new two-year state budget — but that’s about to change.
Same-sex marriage now legally recognized in Ky.
At least for the time being, same-sex couples with valid marriage licenses from other states must be legally recognized as married in Kentucky.
Debate ensues over juvenile court proceedings opening to public
Some juvenile court proceedings may soon be open to the public, but the measure still faces some stiff opposition in the state Senate from some.
Medical marijuana bill clears House panel
Stephanie Shown knows it was a small victory in a war she and others calling for legalization of medical marijuana are likely to lose this year.
2 honored for work with sexually abused
It’s Erica Brown Myers’ job to help those who have been victimized by sexual abuse. But helping others can take a toll on the helper as well as the victim.
- More State News Headlines
- A few glimpses into House budget plan